As my babies grow older into their teens and twenties, they will parade a front of false knowledge and in essence build a fortress of solitude that little information can penetrate.
I'm not quite there yet.
Z is 9 and AK is 6. Those are fun ages of discovery, curiosity and the insatiable appetite that drives them to ask "Why?". I also know those brains are sponges that are collecting data and storing it in categories which usually revolve around the question, "Would I do that again- Yes or No?". I recognize that and am attempting to give my kids a gift. This gift isn't wrapped, nor is it purchased. The gift is something, actually two things, that I love and want them to love: kayak fishing.
Some Dads want their kids to be a great football player, a doctor, a lawyer, a fireman or something else. Some of us just want our kids to be healthy and responsible. I want my kids to have a hobby and let it grow into a passion. I know my kids. They are a brilliant mixture of their mom and me. I know Z is going to get stressed out in life. He wants everything to go smoothly. He doesn't like conflict. He internalizes. He is going to need a pressure relief valve just like I did. Fishing was my outlet. What I later discovered in 2003 was that combining fishing and kayaking also gave me an endorphin release from the exercise which in turn made me feel better about life. So for you mathletes out there: Exercise + Stress Reliever = Chilled Out Dude with a Good Attitude. That is important.
AK is a different story. She looks just like her mom but her attitude is all me. She is my daredevil. She will try anything if you let her. If she gets bored, she makes her own fun. That is what I did. My parents gave me fishing at a young age and because I grew to love it, I spent most of my teens and twenties fishing rather than carousing and raising hell. Give me some spare time and I'd fill it with fishing. I still do. I hope to pass that along.
I am proceeding slowly with my plan. I could have them at the lake three times a week and kayak fishing could be their soccer, ballet or basketball. I don't want them to see it as a chore. I want them to ASK to go kayak fishing. We do a lot of bank fishing right now when we only have a an hour and both of them ask to go. Progressively we are doing more and more in the kayaks.
Z and I have made plans to do a boys trip this Saturday. He likes fishing because he loves exploring outside, he loves the water like a Lab and it's time spent together. I always have to remind myself, this is a trip for him, not me. He reminds me of it every time. Some days we spend six or seven hours out and some days just one or two. I'd take ten minutes to get to share this with him.
I’ll be fishing a tournament on a beautiful stretch of river and he will go along in his own kayak. He has recently started asking to not fish so much so he can explore shorelines and take it all in. Of course I oblige and am happy he wants to go at all. The paddle in all will be over six miles but none of it against current. He could float and just about make the deadline for check in.
He is for sure my scientist and this laboratory I am taking him to will amaze him. That’s a gift I can’t wait to see him unwrap. I'll let you know how it goes.