Time Well Wasted
By:Karl E Johnson
Some people just don?t understand modern life.
Forsaking air-conditioned errands to buy fresh
Fish,many observe the old ways.Men,women
And children squander hours on fishing rituals,
Posing serious questions about the rationality of this
Pastime and the sanity of those who pursue it..
Consider the hassle of a typical fishing expedition.
Get upat 4AM,don a generations-old musty vest,
Strap on a baggy rubber clown pants,stumble through
Mud and brambles to a mosquito-infested stream,tie
Fake flies made from feathers lifted from dead birds to
Stubborn nylon line using one hand and a few teeth,
And then stare as the current carries them by..
I once ran an after-school fishing program for
At-risk youth.Students often missed the program
Because of detention for smoking,threatening,stealing
And worse.Soon,I began to doubht my efforts:Why
Teach fly-tying to kids who can?t read or write? Isn?t
Recreation less important the education?My program,
I realized,had become a reward.Teachers used it as a
Bribe to extract good behavior from students who often
While consequences for bad behavior are important,
This one seemed illogical.Students aren?t kept from
Math or science as punishment,not only because the
Threat would fail to deter,but also because students
Must learn these subjects.I became convinced that
Fishing too,provides educational benefits-ten of
Which are listed here.
Fishing engages the mind. As Norman MacLean
Wrote in A River Runs Through It,the art of fishing is
?looking for answers to questions?-finding the right
bait,the right hole,the right timing?
Fishing engages not only the mind but the whole
Self-body,mind,and emotions.Streamsides can better
Civilize passions then classrooms.Love,hate,joy,sorrow
Fear and anger can be harnessed only if first aroused?
Fishing teaches ethics. The rules of self-restraint
Collectively known as sportsmanship require integrity.
The primary referee in fishing is one?s own conscience.
Fishing thwarts delinquency. As Teddy Roosevelt
Once observed, ?Every child has inside him an aching
Void for excitement,?he said,?and if we don?t fill it
With something which is exciting and interesting and
Good for him,he will fill it with something which is
Exciting and interesting and which isn?t good for him?.
Fishing initiates the young into culture.
Fishing stories and traditions help socialize
Youth into the norms and mores of family and
Fishing unifies people across barriers..
Fishing bridges cultural, economic and
Linguistic barriers,Mentoring transcends
The generation gap..
Fishing encourgages humility.
Fishing shows us that we are not
Ultimately in control of every aspect of
Fishing encourgages a commitment to quality and
Excellense.The secret,as many nature writers have
Testified, is to transcend outcome and value means
And process at least as highly as the product.
Fishing fosters the appreciation of nature.
Fishing brings knowledge of fish,ecology,weather,
Worms and bugs..
The best reason to fish,however is the simplest
And most profound:Fishing is Fun.:Fishing begins
In delight and ends in wisdom?to paraphrase Robert
Frost.One Fishes not for moral or educationial outcomes
But simply to fish. The lessons are by-products,but they
Are real.Fishing is perhaps most profitable when sought
For pure pleasure..
The philosopher C.S.Lewis once wrote that the devil
Hates innocent pastimes because they promote charity,
Courage and contentment.In an age of performance
Anxiety,impending deadlines,instant grafification,
Conspicuous consumption,compulsive achievement,and
Obsessive productivity, the simple pleasures of
Fishing might be an antidote to our collective neuroses.
Fishing may not be productive---in
That sence it is a waste of time.But, all
Things considered,it is time well wasted
I read this today and just had to share it.
Karl E Johnson has served as an instructor
and program director for Cornell Outdoor
Education since 1987.His graduate work is
in the history and philosophy of recreation