Delayed gratification— also known as Fishing.
Fishing is indeed a form of Delayed Gratification in that you may fish all day & catch nothing, but you just keep trying. Or, you may try for years to catch The Big One only to have it break from the line & forever be The One That Got Away.
Even the act of fishing, itself, was something that our newly created little family delayed until my husband and I stumbled upon it once again, and found we were able to participate in a much more gratifying way than any time before.
My husband and I had been together for 10 years before he knew just how much i enjoyed fishing. He had seen me fish once when the boys were toddlers at an impromptu overnight camping trip. But I had been so worried about them either falling in, or hooking each other, that it was difficult to focus & fully participate. He did, however, catch a glimpse of my past love of fishing in those few moments when I did have my rod in hand, and he commented on how serene I looked.
As gratifying as those few moments were I knew how my rag tag bunch of troops operated, and felt that this family activity was definitely something best delayed for a later date.
Flash forward 3 years to a children’s fishing event at our community park during an annual festival. No longer a toddler, our oldest immedietly fell in love with the concept & I recognized how, for him, it was a chance to quiet the noise & find calm even in the crowd of kiddos & poles, searching for the perfect spot.
Fishing became his new favorite outdoor pass time & I was determined to help him find those moments of peace whenever we could. With new tackle, gear & license in hand the whole family set out to cast our cares away for an early summer morning down by the creek in our neighborhood.
Sitting on a rock ledge with the knee deep Texas grass around me & watching my line gently swaying in the stream, my husband took a picture of me, & I must say it does reflect a calmer version than most people ever see. After a few hours our youngest had had enough of the quiet, (and the outdoors). With the boys now fascinated by the release of the hook from the lip of the slippery, pokey creatures, we rounded everything up, each of us having caught a few tiny fish.
The Delayed Gratification approach to showing the boys more about fishing helped us to have a very gratifying family outting that morning, & opened the door to many more wonderful times since.
An interesting side note: when I was in college I dated a guy who chided me on what he felt was my lack of understanding of the concept of Delayed Gratification. He insisted I was constantly rushing things & needing to work on Delaying Gratification in order to get the best out of something, instead of settling for what he suggested was my “right here, right now, good enough approach.”
Looking back, and thinking about the concept of fishing and what it means to me & my little family, and how it was an old childhood activity of mine—patiently waiting for the right time & place to be able to grab the rod and box of worms—how for some of us it’s a salve for the soul, and how all good things come to those who wait, I realize now that THAT guy & I didn’t really know much about each other afterall. (And, obviously, we had never gone fishing!)