Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Changing One's Mind: Becoming a Fisherman

"Daddy, will you take me fishing before the summer is over?"

My initial, internal reaction was, "Are you kidding me?  No.  Hell, no.  I don't like fishing.  I don't have any fishing gear.  I don't want to mess with the things.  Think of something else to do.  How about I take you pig hunting again?"

But, as I said yesterday, Daddies will generally do anything within reason for their children, especially their daughters.   And so began my 180 degree turn from fishing hater to fishing enjoyer--or whatever non-made up word goes there.

Most of the time, we don't change, however.  Most of the time we do not flip our views or perspectives.  We become entrenched in our own thoughts, beliefs, and worlds.  To change a view or perspective--even if it is one like reversing one's position on fishing involves a changing of your very being.

For many years, I made no bones about my distaste of fishing.  I'd even used it in a sermon once or twice.  When I made the comment to my mom the other day that I was enjoying the time fishing with my kids, she remarked, "I can't believe I'm hearing this coming from you."

She could have said worse.  She could have harped on me for being so stubborn in my dislike of fishing.  She could have recounted all the times I said I wouldn't go fishing at all.  She could have rubbed my nose in it unmercifully.  But mom's don't do that-most of the time.

And I would have had to eat crow.  I would have had to acknowledge that she was right.  I would have had to admit, "I was completely wrong for saying all those things earlier."  And to a certain extent, I was. 

Yet, if my daughter hadn't of begged to go fishing, I would not have engaged the process again, and I would not have come to enjoy it and find its benefit to my physical and mental health.

Two things, in my estimation were important here: the tremendous love I have for my daughter who asked me to take her fishing, and the engagement of the process.

Too often, I think, when it comes to engaging different worldviews and thoughts, we are unwilling to do so because we neither love or respect those who invite us to look at things differently.  It's easy to look at another and call that person stupid or ignorant or off base.  It's easy to label a person and refuse to engage the thought process because of that label.  "I don't listen to what he/she has to say because he/she is a liberal, conservative, Democrat, Republican, Christian, Jew, Muslim, Catholic, Lutheran, atheist, or what have you."  Labeling and refusing to offer love and/or respect simply allows a person to keep a safe and critical distance, but the minute you actually love and respect someone, you take a moment to actually consider what that someone says or believes.  You take a moment to go out of your way to contemplate because love pushes you out of your comfort zone.  Such love can lead to change.

But I think love is not enough.  I think engagement is required as well.  I could have easily bought a rod and reel for my daughter, slapped some bait on a hook, and said, "Have fun."  But I didn't.   That's not exactly how it works either.  I had to show my daughter how to do those things, and it's not enough just to talk her through it.  I had to show her--which meant, I had to fish as well.  I had to engage the process.  And as I said yesterday, I'm not much for just casting a bait and waiting.  I like to be a little active, and bass fishing gave me that opportunity.  As I began getting into a rhythm and enjoying the surroundings and catching a fish or two and letting it go and seeing the joy on my daughter's face when she caught her first bass and being away from all the things which vie for my attention and simply concentrating on what I was doing right then and now, I started thinking to myself, "Man, I am enjoying this.  A lot."  I would not have gotten to that point if I refused to even pick up a rod and reel--to engage the process.

I think our world/nation today would benefit from a willingness to love and respect and actually engage other points of view.  I'm not talking about simply acknowledging that they exist, but really try to learn those other worldviews and test one's own view against those other views.  There is a "danger" that one may end up swayed to another position.  However, there is also the likelihood one learns a great deal about why one believes as one believes and thinks as one thinks.  There is also the likelihood that one will discover something that is very fulfilling and life giving.  There is also the likelihood that one discovers the strengths of one's worldview and it's application to the world.  And there is the likelihood that one discovers the common ties to those who have different worldviews.  Those common links are important in helping us live and work together.

And, of course, humility is discovered in the process--a humility which recognizes that I do not have all the answers and that my particular view may indeed be wrong.  But if you are like I am and you are consumed with finding the Truth, you will willingly head down that path.  Love.  Engage.  Change.  It's made a fisherman out of me.

"No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends."  --Jesus

"Come with me, and I will make you fish for people."  --Jesus

No comments: