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Taking a child fishing is a rewarding experience with benefits for both mentor and child

10 Good Reasons to Take a Kid Fishing

A Walk Down Memory Lane with Stan Faggerstrom

Although times have changed and protective lines have been drawn, we continue to be inspired by the message in this poem written by our Honored Angler, Stan Faggerstrom. Prior to his death at 96, Stan was beloved for his zest for a well-lived life. He wrote many articles about the importance of casting and how to catch his favorite fish, the elusive bass. 

Since there remains no shortage of children in our families and neighborhoods who are longing for a role model to teach them how to fish and pass on the life lessons that go along with the experience, we thought this was as good time as any to pull this piece out of the archives and give it another run. Reading it just may inspire you to take a child in your life fishing.

Sammy's Wish

By Stan Fagerstrom

None of us knows what God has in mind
For you or for me and sometimes we find
That He sends us down some unknown lane
I know it's true because it was made plain

I travel a bunch and when I'm on the road
I get so darn lonesome it's like pulling a load
And one day last fall I followed my rule
To always go for a walk and it led by a school

I stood there awhile and watched the kids play
As I turned to walk off I heard a voice say
"My name is Sammy and I wanted to see
Have you got a minute you could just talk to me?

My daddy got killed in that Desert Storm war
My mother says I'll never see him no more
I guess if I had only one special wish
It would be for a dad who could teach me to fish."

"Now look, kid," I said, as gruff as I could
"Don't be talkin' to strangers I could be up to no good,"
But I looked over my shoulder as I walked away
I was hoping he'd run off with the others to play.

I went back to my room and just sat there thinking
With a heart full of sadness and my spirits sinking
So a couple of hours later I jumped in my car
And drove back to the school, it wasn't that far

I waited near the fence until school was done
And I watched all the kids until I spotted that one
He'd gone maybe a mile, when he turned down a lane
And crossed over some tracks to a small house so plain 

I walked up to that shack and knocked at the door
The woman who answered had been sweeping the floor
She looked up at me and said, "What do you want?"
And what I saw in her face will my dreams ever haunt

I said, "Don't misunderstand," not knowing what to say
"But I just ran into your Sammy today
He told me he wanted to learn how to fish
I'd sure like to help that little boy get his wish.

Well, she wasn't sure and it didn't surprise
But it was easy to see the want in her eyes
I gave her the number of some friends in that town
I said, "Check me out, I'll be back around."

I didn't get back to that place for awhile
But what happened when I did still makes me smile
I'd loaded my wagon so full of tackle and gear
That kid could fish until this time next year

His mother ran out the door as I came up the walk
"Mister," she said, "you'n me gotta talk."
That's when she told me she'd been praying you see
That somewhere out there might be someone like me

To help take the place of a dad her son wouldn't know
I told her I'd try but it was so hard not to show
The way my heart was pounding and my feelings inside
I knew then who had sent me to Little Sam's side 

I stop and see Sammy every chance I get
We fish together and I've never yet
Felt lost or lonely when his hand's in mine
While we're together the sun seems always to shine

His mom's found a job on the other side of town
She told me they were moving last time I was down
And tonight when I kneel in my motel room to pray
I'll thank God again for sending Sammy my way

As I said before, we don't always know
What God has in mind as we reap and we sow
But He made my life richer, I can't measure the joy
Just by letting me help that one little boy.

Published in April 1993 issue of Washington Fishing Holes: 

10 Good Reasons to Take a Child Fishing:

As Stan found when he wrote this poem years ago, taking a kid fishing can be a rewarding and memorable experience that offers numerous benefits for both the child and the adult. Here are some rewards you may enjoy next time you take a kid in your life fishing:

1. Opportunity for Bonding and Quality Time:
Fishing provides an opportunity for bonding and quality time spent together in the great outdoors. Sharing a fishing trip with a child allows for meaningful interactions, conversations, and shared experiences that can strengthen your relationship.

2. Fishing Teaches Patience and Persistence:
Fishing teaches children the value of patience, persistence, and resilience as they wait for bites, cast their lines, and reel in their catch. Patience is a valuable life skill that can be instilled through the practice of fishing.

3. Communing with and Appreciating Nature:
Fishing exposes children to the wonders of the natural world, allowing them to appreciate the beauty of lakes, rivers, and oceans, observe wildlife, and immerse themselves in outdoor environments. It fosters a sense of connection to nature and encourages environmental stewardship.

4. Learning Practical Life Skills:
Fishing can teach children a variety of life skills, such as problem-solving, decision-making, hand-eye coordination, and fine motor skills. It also promotes independence, responsibility, and self-reliance as children learn to set up their gear, bait their hooks, and handle their catches.

5. Memorable and Fun Educational Opportunities:
Fishing offers educational opportunities for children to learn about aquatic ecosystems, fish species, habitats, conservation practices, and environmental sustainability. It can inspire curiosity, exploration, and a love for learning about the natural world.

6. Catching a Fish Builds Confidence and Self-Esteem:
Successfully catching a fish can boost a child's confidence, self-esteem, and sense of accomplishment. Fishing provides moments of achievement and pride that can empower children and build their self-confidence.

7. Experiencing Relaxation and Mindfulness:
Fishing is a calming and meditative activity that promotes relaxation, mindfulness, and stress relief for both children and adults. It allows for moments of tranquility and reflection in a serene natural setting. In today's busy and fast paced expectations, it is good to slow down and enjoy what it feels like to be calm and peaceful, enjoying the day and relishing the opporutnity to live in the moment.

8. Creating Lasting Childhood Memories:
Fishing trips with children create lasting memories that they will cherish for years to come. The shared experiences, laughter, and adventures on the water become treasured moments that strengthen family bonds and create a sense of nostalgia.

9. Fostering Respect for Wildlife and Conservation:
Fishing teaches children to respect wildlife, practice ethical angling practices, and appreciate the importance of conservation. It instills values of environmental stewardship, sustainability, and respect for the natural world.

10. Passing on a Time-Honored Tradition:
Fishing is a time-honored tradition that can be passed down from generation to generation. By taking a child fishing, you are sharing a love for angling, preserving fishing heritage, and creating a legacy of outdoor recreation and appreciation for nature.

Whether you're introducing a child to fishing for the first time or enjoying a fishing outing with your own family members, the experience of taking a kid fishing can be joyful, educational, and meaningful. Like Stan, in his poem above, we too have the power share to the joys of fishing with a child, nurture their curiosity and appreciation for the great outdoors, and create lasting memories that will be treasured for a lifetime.
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