Growing up, I loved to fish. I wanted to catch the first fish, the biggest fish, the most fish and the last fish. A few friends and myself would bike down to the river and compete in those categories. They were good times.
Nowadays, I still love to fish, but it's a little bit different. I don't really care if I catch the first fish. As a matter of fact, I'd rather not. I don't want to catch the most. I don't want to catch the biggest. I don't want to catch the last.
I'm fishing for a smile, not the fish.
My old friends and I don't fish much together anymore. We certainly don't ride bikes down to the river. We all have moved away for the most part and have our own families.
I fish with my family now and my five-year-old daughter loves it.
"Dad, which rod is mine?"
"Dad, can you put my wormy on?"
"Dad, can you throw it out there for me?"
So I let her choose her rod. I put her hook on, her bobber on and her "wormy" on. Then I cast it out for her.
When we go fishing, I make sure we go to a fishing spot where the fish will bite quite often. Usually we go to a nice perch, sunfish or bullhead spot.
So as soon as she gets her "Dora the Explorer" rod in the water, she is catching one. I hardly have time to throw my line in the water.
"I got one!"
The scream of excitement puts a smile on my face.
"Reel it in" I tell her.
As soon as she gets it up to the dock, "Dad, can you take it off for me?"
So I take her fish off for her and hand her my rod so she can keep fishing. She’ll look back now and then to see how I'm doing and to take another look at the fish she just caught.
Before I get her fish off her hook, she's catching a fish on my rod and the scream of excitement is hitting the air again.
I usually don't catch much.
I don't care.
I'm fishing for a smile, and I always catch my share.