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  • M. Winston (Winn) Egan

Fishing, But So Much More!


This summer, I have had opportunities to go fishing with my son Daniel, his at-home sons, and sometimes with his wife, Kristin. We travel to a large, nearby reservoir famous for its fish production and various trout species.


We generally go to the same place because of the success we have had in catching fish. However, the best part is what I learn and experience while I am with my grandsons.

As we wait for fish to strike—which can be a relatively long time, I hear all kinds of talk, razzing, and sarcasm. The interactions generally take place between my grandsons. They are very skilled in giving each other a "bad time." I think you know what I mean.


The twins, Matt and Gabe, are sixteen. Their younger brother Davidson is thirteen. Often the twins combine their efforts to make life mildly miserable for "Davy," as they refer to him.

As the therapist/psychologist Michael Gurian has suggested—Gabe and Matt are providing the "nurturing aggression[1]" that Davidson needs to become a resilient and an emotionally buff teenager. Dr. Gurian has suggested that siblings and cousins often play significant roles in developing grit and other valuable personal attributes in their younger peers and relatives. This is a least one way of looking at the interactions Matt and Gabe have with Davidson.

Right now, Davy is at the bottom of the family totem pole, but not for long. He is now taller than both of his older brothers. And he is becoming increasingly bigger, taller, and more robust.

The point is this. Fishing is enormously fun for me, but I learn so much more about what my grandsons are doing, thinking, experiencing, and understanding when I go fishing with them. For example, I also see how easily bored they can become. I see the antics or strategies they use to bring the fishing to an end. I see how they bug each other. Moreover, their talk and teenage expressions intrigue and reveal a lot about how they are changing, growing up, and maybe maturing.

When you go fishing or do something similar with your grandsons or granddaughters, take time to really listen and observe. You will learn so much! And you may be entertained more than you anticipate, especially when the fish are not biting with any frequency.

[1] Michael Gurian, Aggression Nurturance, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gwAxxgAWfAs&t=118s

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