August 2007

Take Your Kids Fishing While You Can

By Mike Wallace
Superstition Search & Rescue

"MEMORIES ARE MADE OF THIS" --  Coty (left) and Aaron (right) Wallace have made memories over the years because a parent took them fishing. Mike Wallace of Superstition Search & Rescue writes that the outdoors experiences kids have with their moms and dads are instrumental in helping them get over some rough spots during their growing-up years.

I was born in Phoenix and raised in Scottsdale, Ariz. Back then, Scottsdale was a fairly small town — especially when compared to its size now.

I remember Mom and me walking into the backyard. My mom had a shovel, and I, a tin can in my hand. In the garden, a shovel full of dirt exposed several worms trying to make a hasty escape.

I was six years old and did not know why we were putting worms into my can. I was just excited to be with my mom on a new adventure.  

I hugged my can of worms as Mom and my grandma McCoy loaded up the blue Ford station wagon. When we arrived at our destination, (Papago Park in Phoenix) the car door was opened, and I saw something that forever changed the outcome of my life!

Before me was a pond and in that pond were fish. I have not lost the picture of that experience in my mind to this day.

I still smell the water and still see the blue gill rushing to my little pals on a hook. They would pause for a moment as if to refocus their eyes on the worm before grabbing it and running for cover.

From that day forward, the outdoors became my therapy — my elixir for good mental health.

Being a kid these days is a tough gig. There are stresses in their lives that we old porch rockers just don’t understand. My kids have reminded me of this on many occasions.

Times are definitely different now than when I was a lad. Some things, though, are very much the same. Time spent with your kids in the outdoors is still the elixir for life’s woes.

My kids, as I, have learned to enjoy the outdoors. In their younger years, fishing became their favorite adventure.

Now I know that time in the outdoors can’t fix every thing. However, right or wrong, my opinion is that a lot of the problems our youth have in this country could be or could have been prevented if a dad or a mom had taken them into the wilds and spent some quality time with them.

There are a lot of important things kids need to learn in this life — feeling loved as a child by your parents is one of the most important.

In a tent with rain pounding on it, by a stream, in the woods, or on a dirt bank by a little pond full of bluegill, I knew I was loved. And, I know my kids feel loved too.

I need to thank my mom and dad for teaching me what is good and important in life. Take your kids fishing and enjoy them while you can!