Teacher, Teacher…

Three of our four grandsons came over today and as much as I wanted to relax and prepare for the upcoming week, they all wanted to fish in the backyard, where I caught four good sized bass yesterday afternoon. I couldn’t help but think of my own childhood when fishing was frequently on my mind. Years ago, when I was in high school and then in college, my closest boyhood friend, Bob Thompson, and I would head out 95th street and fish quite often at Maple and Bullfrog Lakes, in the forest preserves west of where we grew up. In fact, one of the tackle boxes I still use today is one that I bought with Bob when we were freshman in high school. Even though Bob died almost thirteen years ago, I still think about all the good times we had renting boats or standing on the shore trying to catch “the big one.”

Years later, when we were in college, I even joined Bob’s family for their annual vacation in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, near Naubinway and Engadine, where Bob taught me the finer points of catching walleye, northern and other game fish. I don’t know where he learned so much, but there is no doubt about it – he sure knew much more than I did about time out on the water. I tried to teach our son, Andrew, when he was younger, but the one who really “got it” in the early years was our daughter, Kristin, who actually caught a trout in Gatlinburg when she was just a very young girl.

Somewhere along the way, I got interested in fly fishing. I didn’t know anyone who did that, but eventually I got to the point where I enjoyed it more than any other kind of time on the water. Here and there I learned from taking a lesson and, on occasion, I have hired guides to increase my skill. Last year, Andrew took up the sport as well and he even invested in some of his own equipment late last fall. Andrew’s skill has certainly improved and now, of all things, the grandsons want to learn to fly fish as well.

They are still relatively small to be handling a 9′ fly rod, but they sure are passionate about trying to learn. So today I started the lessons teaching them how to catch fish with a fly rod. I figured that it would be easier to keep their interest if they caught some fish, so I would cast the line out and let them work the fly back to the shore. Sure enough, between the three of them, they must have caught more than 35 bluegills, sunfish and crappie. They even had 2 largemouth bass on the line but, not surprisingly, the larger fish got away.

The truth be told, we had a great time but after more than three hours of working with all three of the boys, I was really beat. In this case, teaching was pretty hard work, especially when at least one of them was always calling me; letting me know that they needed some kind of help or they had a fish on the line!

I wonder if Jesus got frustrated or tired trying to teach the disciples. From the Scriptures, it sure seems that he got exasperated from time to time! But what patience He had, trying to bring the Word of God to a lost and broken world. And yet He persevered – subordinating His will to the will of the Father. I wish that I had that kind of patience…

The disciples tried to learn from Jesus and they went on, after the death of Jesus, spreading the Good News and teaching as they were taught. I guess that is what I am trying to do with the boys – teaching what I have been taught by Bob and others who were more advanced that I was when it came to fishing…

The verse for tonight is from the gospel of the good doctor, Luke. He tells us, in Luke 6:40, “The student is not above the teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like their teacher.” In other words, we can aspire to learn all we can about any subject out there, but we owe a great debt of gratitude to our teachers – whether they be grammar school educators, seminary, or even those who teach us how to train a dog or catch a fish. Unfortunately, we tend to devalue the lessons we get from our teachers – they lead a thankless life most of the time.

My encouragement this evening is to take a moment and thank the people who during your life have provided you lessons that have proven valuable to your growth and development. My prayer is that you will carry the baton and continue to teach those who have entered your life and can benefit from your expertise – we all have an obligation to pay it forward, especially the Good News of Jesus. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…

 
 
 
 

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