Wednesday, May 24, 2017

That's What Papa Said -- Words of Fishing AND Life Wisdom

order), Payton Wallace, and of course, as his usual request, we've come to his/our (and Papa's) favorite fishing spot at Marval Trout Camp on the Illinois River in Oklahoma. This year, he brought two of his friends with him. We drove up here yesterday. We got our cabins all set up (guys in one cabin; girls in the other) and then they couldn’t get their poles in the water fast enough. Before daybreak this morning, fishing had already begun just below Tenkiller Dam. Fishing will be hearty until noon when the alarm will sound and the gates from the dam will open and the tumultuous waters will warrant resuming fishing just behind our cabins.

I can’t help but recall how this all got started. At age 10, Payton tells it best in the book he wrote and published, “That’s What Papa Said!” Here’s an excerpt about his love for his Papa and fishing:

“I remember sitting down to play the piano only two months ago as the church was filled with people from around the world. There were hundreds of people of all ages and backgrounds and even a few kids. They had come to celebrate the life of my Papa, his wisdom, and the things he said. Papa was the greatest person I have ever met, and I was so happy to play the piano that day and remember everything he had taught me.

As I walked to the front of the church to play his favorite song on the piano, I could hear his voice still playing in my head -- oh the things that Papa said. This book is about the stories of my Papa, and the things that Papa said.

Papa: The Fisherman
I’m only ten years old, but I love to fish and play the piano more than anything in the world. These are only two of the many things that Papa taught me. My Papa could play the piano, go fishing, think up great ideas, a builder, could fix almost anything and he would always tell us the story of Jesus on Christmas Eve.
From the day I was born, my Papa would tell me exciting stories of the many fish he caught and even the ones that got away. I really enjoyed listening to them because they were always funny and interesting. When I would spend the night at Papa’s house, I would always look forward to bedtime because Papa would take time to tell me a cool story about fishing or some great outdoor adventure. Papa took me fishing and was the first to help me learn how to be a real fisherman. My favorite fishing adventure with Papa was the time he took me to Marvel Camp to teach me the “Six Steps of Becoming a Great Fisherman”.

Step 1) Keep your supplies in order. Papa said to keep my fishing supplies organized so they would last longer and be easier to find. He told me to always hang my fishing rod on the wall and put my rubber boots in the same place so I could find them easily.

Step 2) Keep trying. This one took practice. It was learning to cast the line into the water. That was kind of hard the first couple of times because my line usually ended up in the trees. And sometimes the line would get tangled. Papa said to "just keep trying". The more I tried, the more I got better and better.

Step 3) Be patient. It took me time to learn this one because sometimes the fish got away. When that first happened I was sad. Once I was standing on a rock and there was a giant bass right under my feet. I dropped the lure into the water and BAM! The fish bit the lure. I was so excited that I jerked the rod up and when I did, the hook came out of the fish's mouth. I was really upset because the fish got away. Papa told me not to jerk the rod because if I did, the hook won't set properly. Papa said, "Great fisherman are patient, take their time, and don't rush.”

Step 4) Never be afraid. Step four was learning to take the fish off the hook. It was pretty tricky and slimy, too. The first time Papa told me that I had to hold the fish, I thought the fish would bite my finger off. He told me to put my thumb in the fish's mouth and pull back. The first time I tried I was freaked out because the fish had little teeth. Finally I had the courage to hold the slimy fish with a glove and put my other finger in its mouth. As soon as I did though, the fish wiggled and it scared me so much that I dropped the fish and it got away. Papa just looked at me and said "Great fishermen are not afraid."

Step 5) Take time to do things right. Step 5 required me to tie my own hook on the line and it took a lot of practice. I would get the line tangled up when I tried to tie the knot. First he showed me how to hold the hook. Then he told me to put the fishing line through the eye of the hook. With my fingers holding the line tightly, I had to twist the hook and then thread it through the hole. Papa said, "Great fishermen take their time to do things right, even if it means doing it over and over again."

Step 6) Never give up. Step six was the hardest of them all because I had to learn how to use a really sharp knife. Papa waited till I was 10 years old for this step because I had to use that sharp knife to filet my own fish. I still need a little practice on this, but I am getting better. Learning to filet the fish was very hard because if I cut the fish too close to the back bone it messed up the meat. I messed up a lot, but Papa was patient with me. I kept on going till I did it perfectly. I remember Papa said, "You're my champion. You did all six steps. You are now a GREAT fisherman."
That's What Papa Said!”

I shared all of this with you because of sweet memories on Payton’s 17th birthday and now, Payton is proficient at all those tips Papa gave him, and he’s a great fisherman, too. In fact, Payton brought two friends with him on this trip, and because Payton is carrying on the “teaching” that his Papa gave him, he teaches others. He’s got “fishing” disciples!

There’s a family "bond" we all have with fishing that gives us all great memories. But most importantly, those "fishing steps" are also "life steps" in reeling in success in every area of our lives. I know it has worked for us, and I pray, that put into practice, will work for you, too! Now go and catch THE BIG ONE in life, in business, in your family’s success, in your ministry and your love walk!