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By Andrea Johnson

“I think I got a fish,” our three-year-old grandson said with a hint of excitement in his voice. He started to reel in his line.

“I think I caught a fish,” he said a little louder as he started reeling faster. His chubby, little fingers worked the reel.

“I CAUGHT A FISH!” he screamed in his husky little boy voice. He swung his reel around for all to admire. His trophy, a good-sized blue gill, dangled at the end of the line. Another generation of fishermen was hooked on the sport.

The pond near our house is perfect for fishing with little kids. Patience is not required, for them anyway. Within a few seconds of casting, their bobbers bounce around signaling a bite. Much patience, however, is required of the adults who assist them. With five grandchildren ages seven and under, it’s hard to keep the hooks baited and the lines untangled. But it is so much fun for my husband and me.

Last weekend as I went back and forth between the kids’ poles I wasn’t much help. I did cast and untangle lines, but that’s about it. Nonetheless, I was in awe of our sons and daughter-in-law who patiently baited hooks, took those hooks out of the fish’s mouths, and threw the little creatures back in the water, all while encouraging the kids to “keep reeling” and dodging flying hooks and flailing fish.

Wasn’t it just yesterday my brothers were teaching my kids how to fish, patiently explaining how important it is to use the right bait and to be careful of the hooks? Our oldest, Phil, got a real life illustration of the importance of that warning while fishing with my youngest brother. A guy fishing near them hooked his buddy in the back. Although the men were speaking English, Phil heard words he had never heard before.

I don’t like to eat fish, maybe because I know what they eat. (At least with corn-fed beef you kind of know what you are getting.) Nonetheless I have fond memories of fishing: my uncles teaching my brothers, my brothers teaching our kids, and now our kids teaching their kids. Of course the best part of the experience is being with family. No agenda. Just hanging out together and catching fish.

Jesus said He would send His disciples out to fish for people, and He patiently demonstrated how to do it (Matthew 4:19). Isn’t that what mentoring is all about?

About The Author

Andrea Johnson
Managing Editor

In her spare time you will most likely find Andrea Johnson with family or friends, or outdoors hiking. She and her husband, Dennis, are blessed with four children and five grandchildren.