Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Hooked? Eh, Not So Much

When I was a kid, I would ride my bike down to the sound, bait my hook and fish for whatever would be interested in eating half a worm. It was fun, a great way to hang out with my cousins and pass the time on a summer day, and it's what kids do.

Or did.

This week, I ran into another mom friend at the lake, who was there with her two children, a boy and a girl. Her boy was fishing, and the mom was telling me that they'd just gotten back from Alaska, where her son had been fishing with his grandpa. Ben had been watching the young fisherman, and seemed keenly intrigued. When a fish was caught, he was thrilled to watch the process of reeling it in, unhooking and releasing it back into the lake. The boy asked if Ben would like to try it.

"Sure!" he squeaked. I grabbed half a worm and started to show him how to bait the hook.

"Uh, no Mom, you do it," he said, backing away with a grimace on his face. Jacob was soon beside his brother.

"Jacob, you can try after Ben is done," I suggested, trying to include him in the fun.

"No thanks. I don't believe in killing defenseless worms. I'll just watch," he said, also backing away.

What the heck? Do they not make kids like they used to? It's not like they were girls in crinoline dresses, shrieking at the site of worm guts. They're boys for pity's sake!

Fine.

I cast the line, handed the rod to Ben and we waited for all of 30 seconds. Then, he got a bite.

"Ooh! Reel it in!" I cheered.

Ben was thrilled as he pulled up a little sunny. Until it swung toward him.

"OK," I said, grabbing the line, "now let me show you how to hold him so we can get the hook out."

Needless to say, he wanted nothing to do with that part either.

I decided we would take it slowly, round up Dad in the coming weeks, take our rods, some hot dogs (for bait) and work up to the 'ick' factor as a family. Don't get me wrong: I'd love it if my kids grew to be environmentally conscious and caring about the animal world. But there are some things that kids just have to learn how to do, as rites of passage: ride a bike; swim; bait a hook, and remove a fish from said hook.

OK, I know I was a tomboy as a kid, but still. Am I expecting too much? Being overly nostalgic? Torturing my kids?

Insights welcome.

3 comments:

Jade L Blackwater said...

I think you're on the right track - you want them to know how to get dirty (and love it)!

PS - discovered you via Damselfly Press. I like the imagery you conjure with "Fool's Gold."

Christine Orchanian Adler said...

Thank you, Jade, for reading and commenting! I'm glad you enjoyed "Fool's Gold" and hope you take a look (and enjoy) my other writings and poetry. :)

Jade L Blackwater said...

Will do!

Incidentally, I ran into this book in the library catalog (while looking for something else entirely). No idea if it's any good, but it seems appropriate to share:

The dangerous book for boys
by Conn Iggulden