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Teaching A Man To Fish

My dad was not exactly a patient man. When he served as editor of the Wheeling News-Register more than 30 years ago, I saw him in action. He demanded deadlines be met even if it meant slapping a wet photo print on his desk for approval. He hated to be late for anything.

He was known to bark at reporters or city editors when his patience wore thin. This was all in the name of getting the job done, but he could come off as gruff to the new kids in the newsroom.

Yet there were times when I was a kid that I witnessed his demeanor change and his patience hold steady. And it was all because of a fishing pole. This was one activity he enjoyed sharing with his kids even when he had to untangle countless crossed fishing lines.

He would trade his suit and tie for more casual attire that usually included one of his many colored cardigan sweaters. A battered, old tackle box was brought out of the basement and loaded in the station wagon.

Before we could head out to one of these fishing excursions at a family friend’s lake, we would scour the backyard for worms to use as bait.

If that didn’t pan out, there were local mom and pop stores and even gas stations along the way that stocked worms for fishing.

Sometimes while trolling his line around the lake, he would talk about fishing on the river and creeks when he was a kid. Not every one of our fishing outings was successful, but it meant something special to spend time with a dad who was “all business” the rest of the week. Many of my siblings still love to fish and have passed the tradition on to their kids and grandkids.

Fishing has been a topic in the Bible, of philosophers and scholars. The most noted thought comes from the Chinese proverb: “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach him how to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”

Today and for the past few months, the United States has been absorbing tens of thousands of men, women and children into our states.

These people are crossing our border from the south at alarming rates. They are desperate for better lives.

And now we will be opening our doors and arms to people fleeing Afghanistan.

If we are to continue this humanitarian effort, we now, more than ever, need to be “teaching a man to fish.”

Heather Ziegler can be reached via email at hziegler@theintelligencer.net.

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