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Dad's Affirmation
Photo: Wayne Johnson
Everyone had new fishing equipment except me.  My dad and two of my older brothers had gone to the fishing department at our local store and picked out the best gear that they could afford. There was an air of anticipation in our humble home as they anxiously talked about the huge fish that they would probably catch with the new rods and reels.

I was ten years old, and although I hadn’t saved enough money to get anything new, dad still allowed me to tag along with him and the other boys to fish in the pond across the road from home. They carried shiny, flexible rods. I carried a five foot stick pole, equipped with heavy line, a bobber, and an old fish hook. They carried shiny new tackle boxes. I carried a tomato soup can with worms I had dug in the garden.

When we arrived at the pond I enviously watched Dad and the boys get their gear in order. I un-wound my fish line and baited my hook with a small red worm and made my way toward the deep end of the pond away from the others. Truth be told, I was a little ashamed of my stick pole and secretly wanted to be out of sight. I watched with anticipation as my father and brothers cast their lines again and again, but they didn’t get so much as a nibble.

Beamed with Pride

Then it happened! I was daydreaming at the time when my red and white bobber shot out of sight beneath the clear surface of the water. I had a fight on my hands, and my ten year old arms strained to land the biggest bass I had ever seen. No sooner had I brought the huge fish onto the shore when my father put his pole down and ran to see what I had caught. His grey eyes glistened as he beamed with pride.

I will never forget what my father said next. “Boys, look at that fish! Mike caught it with a stick pole and here we are with all our fancy equipment and none of us have even gotten a bite. That’s a nice fish Mike.”  Solomon and all his gold never felt as wealthy as I did at that moment. My father was proud of me, and he told me so in front of everyone else. It was one of the happiest moments in my life. I still remember it as a high point in my childhood.

I’m now a father of three children. I’m learning that what they desire most is my time and affirmation. It takes intentional thought and repeated practice on my part, but the smile that it produces, and the happy moments that I am already recalling are worth it.

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By Michael Temple. Copyright © 2013 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.

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