Give a Man a Fish, and You Feed Him for a Day. Teach a Man To Fish, and You Feed Him for a Lifetime” – Origin unclear
Fishing and money, of course they go together, right?! Okay, well, if it’s not obvious to you, read on.
Teach a boy to fish
If you ever wonder if what you are teaching your children is sinking in or making any difference in their lives, you’re certainly not alone. I can’t count the number of times I’ve felt like I’m talking to myself when trying to pass on my great wisdom to my kids. Over the past 16 years I’ve often wondered if teaching and exposing my kids to different things has benefited them.
Then they show me that it’s working. It’s not always when I want to see it, or when I expect to see it. But it happens. And that’s when I realize they were listening, they were learning, and they did benefit from exposure to different experiences, people and places.
Our kids grew up outdoors. We’ve camped since our first born was 1 year old (sadly that came to an end this year, but we still enjoy nature at every opportunity). When we camped, we also swam, hiked, biked, paddled, cooked, explored, and played games.
We also fished. We fished a lot.
Jake is now 16 (almost 17!) and he’s been fishing. He’s been fishing constantly. After watching him for a few weeks, I’ve realized there are some great virtues to be gained from fishing.
Preparation. He and his friend went and bought their own fishing licenses and a few lures before their first fishing expedition.
Patience. There was one two week streak when he and his friends went fishing every single day, sometimes for 6+ hours (and sometimes not catching anything at all).
Perseverance. Even though he doesn’t catch fish every time, he keeps going back and trying.
Independence. Sometimes he goes with his friends, but sometimes he spends hours fishing on his own.
Cooperation/Community. Usually somebody catches something, they pool their fish and each person take turns taking the fish home. (Sometimes they choose to catch and release too.)
Learning new skills. Jake already knew the basics of fishing, but he’s learned how to clean and cook the fish he catches. He makes a delicious baked bass!
Self sufficiency. If he’s ever in a survival situation, this skill will serve him well.
Appreciation. For nature. Jake knows one little lake like the back of his hand. He knows where the bluegill nests are, where the snapping turtle likes to hide and where the fish are at different times of the day.
Communication. There’s no need to text or snapchat when your friends are fishing a few feet away. This is real life conversation – no electronics needed.
Fun doesn’t have to cost money. Honestly, I think this is one of the main reasons he started fishing this year. After the initial costs for gear (which doesn’t have to cost much at all), fishing is the perfect example of frugal fun.
Fundamentals of managing your money (and fishing)
How can fishing can teach you what you need to be successful with your money? Same principles, different application.
Preparation. Planning ahead saves time and money. How many times have you went to the store without a list and come home with items you didn’t really need? And did you forget the ones you really did need? A little upfront work always pays off.
Patience. Reaching financial goals can seem painfully slow. But the longer you stick it out, even if it’s just 5 more minutes or 5 more dollars saved, in the end you will land the big one.
Perseverance. Sometimes we don’t reach our goals or things don’t go as planned. Instead of giving up, try something different. And keep trying something different until you figure out what works for you. (Maybe you need to try a different lure?)
Independence. Sometimes we need other people’s help, but it’s always good to have the ability to rely on yourself when those people aren’t available. (Take borrowing money. The less money you borrow – from banks or friends/family – the more independent and free you become.)
Cooperation/Community. Sharing resources can save everyone time and money. Help your neighbors and let them help you. Share tools, babysitting, garden harvest, labor, or skills.
Learning new skills. Learn to track your expenses, budget, save, invest, and earn more. Learning these skills will literally pay off over and over again. (And, don’t forget, DIY skills can save a ton of money. Even if you don’t plan on using the skills repeatedly, I think it’s always worth it to learn and practice new skills at least once. You never know when you’ll need them.)
Self sufficiency. It’s wise to have access to enough of your own money to cover emergencies. If you have to borrow each time you have an emergency, not only do you dig yourself deeper in debt, but you are always relying on others.
Fun doesn’t have to cost money. It’s true. Once you find all the no-cost, low-cost entertainment that’s available, you’ll find some that you love. And save yourself a heap of money.