Learning to respect the things in life that are important starts by taking the needed risks.
Learning to fish and live life.
by Geremy Olson
WayPoint: You were created to take risk, because taking risk is the only way to learn and grow. Being safe steals your life, growth and ability to have faith.
Hang out with any little boy as they grow up and you will see someone who knows how to take risk and explore. I was no different. In fact, most boys growing up don’t even know they are taking risk when they are exploring. A fundamental requirement for exploring is risk, risk of getting lost, risk of not finding anything, risk of being late for supper.
We have all witnessed adults chew out a kid for playing in the campfire. We have all been part of the discussion on how old should a child be to go fishing at the river or driving the boat by themselves. How old should a kid be before they can go camping on their own? At the root of all of these discussions is fear. As adults we make a lot of decisions based on fear, many times without realizing it. The result is we protect the risk out of kids so that they can be safe… so that they can avoid heartache or failure.
You never know when that moment will come, but when it does are you ready?
The trouble is, the key to success is failure and learning how not to repeat your failures. As anglers, we should understand this better than anyone. Without the risk of trying a new body of water, a new technique or a new fishing partner, can we grow in our ability to catch more fish and more importantly build relationships?
Two years ago, my two sons, Peter and Andrew, decided to fish the Student Angler Tournament Trail in Minnesota. This meant getting sponsors, traveling to another state six times a summer, and finding a boat captain. I don’t think I need to go into all the risks that were pointed out to my wife and I as that first year took shape. When the season was done the boys placed somewhere around 380th place, found a captain that they loved and paid for their part with no funds from mom and dad.
Last year, Peter and Andrew fished the tournament trail again. They had to raise more money and cover more cost than the year before. There were some discussions if they could make it happen. They chose to take the risk and went out to get more sponsors and started fishing. As the season went on, they had two sponsors back out because of slow business, but they chose to carry on.
Life is no different. Yes, things don’t go the way we want. Yes, there is heartache and stress about how to get though the hard times. If we don’t take risk with people, we can never learn to trust them. If we don’t take risk with new ideas we can never grow. If we avoid risk then we choose to avoid the opportunity to learn.
When I was in second grade, I was told by my teacher that I would never learn, that I was stupid and shouldn’t be in a public school and that nobody liked me and more. It wasn’t until my dad challenged me to trust him and take the risk to trust others and myself that I started to overcome my trials. Once I did, I began to understand what it meant to live.
It was with this understanding that I was able to encourage the boys to carry on and work though the struggles they were encountering. At the end of their second tournament season they made it to the championship and finish the year 45th place in team of the year points. More importantly they gained perseverance, self-discipline and a new friend and mentor in their boat captain.
This summer they are fishing their last year of the Student Angler Tournament Trail where there are new struggles and risks to encounter. As a dad, I am also confident in this season because of the relationship they have built with their boat captain and mentor over the last two years. I know they are up for the challenge because of the risks they have taken in the past and what they have learned because of taking those risks.
If we take away all of the risk in our kids’ lives, they lose the ability to learn to have faith. It is our job as parents to teach them how to confront and handle risk, not to avoid it. You see, faith comes from perseverance and perseverance comes from trials. When we are safe and nothing can go wrong, there is no place for faith to grow in yourself, others or God.
You were created to take risk, because taking risk is the only way to learn and grow. Being safe steals your life, growth and ability to have faith.
(Geremy Olson grew up in the outdoors. After being burned as a volunteer firefighter, he had to figure out how to teach outdoor skills to his children from a wheelchair while learning to walk. Today he is an inspirational speaker, Fellowship of Christian Athletes North Dakota Coordinator, ND AIM Tournament Director, Outdoorsman, Producer, Wildfire Consultant & Public Speaker (GOspeaks.live) He is also the proud father of the owners of Missouri Secrets Tackle.)