Sunday, May 26, 2013

Success—It’s All In How You Measure It

Written last week, I'm posting this now that I'm back:

It’s my second day “unplugged” here at a cabin the woods.  After breakfast and a good cup of French Market coffee (purchased ground in New Orleans), it was time for fishing.

“Now what does this have to do with success?” you ask.  I’m getting to that.  Bear with me.

After grabbing the poles and tackle boxes, I took my young crew down to the water’s edge for some morning fishing.  My son was concerned that I didn’t bring along the “Missouri Fishing Regulations” booklet.  I was not.  I knew that it would require an Act of God for us to catch anything that was even remotely close to large enough to keep, so I was almost certain that if we did hook anything, it would be released back into the wild after it’s photo op.

“Why go then?” You may be wondering.  It has to do primarily with how I measure successful fishing, and I’m relatively certain that my measurement is different than that of the rest of the world.

To me successful fishing, at least with my kids, means that no one hooks themselves or a sibling, no one falls in the water or has to be rescued, there are not temper tantrums or meltdowns, and (a new criteria added this morning) no one gets bitten by a venomous snake.

Yep, that’s it. We didn’t catch anything but sticks but we had a good time trying.  We even observed wildlife from a safe distance, but clearly we need a different fishing spot next time, as we were far too close for comfort to what ended up being a next of venomous water moccasins.  It was cool to see them swim, since we were on ground, but once they’d been identified clearly as being the poisonous water snakes, not the more common, non-venomous species frequently found around here, we returned ended our hour-long fishing excursion and headed back to the cabin. 

I try hard to teach my kids what to avoid in wildlife without causing great fear and panic.  Panic never leads to anything good and there’s value in being able to identify a poisonous species when you encounter it.  If nothing else, you learn to give said creature a wide berth.
Later in the morning we went crawfish catching with nets in shallow ponds, and that was more successful by pretty much every definition of the word.  We caught and released lots of crawfish, there was no deep water to worry about, and there wasn’t a nest of venomous creatures in the area.  In short, it was great fun.

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