Exploring Resilience via Lifes Burning Issues

Tag: systems (Page 5 of 5)

Teaching fishing – Lifes Parallels

Fishing for lifes lessons

I have had my girls out fishing with me, trying to teach them the art of threading their bait, casting, PATIENCE, when to strike, what to keep and what to throw back.

While having them fishing and talking to them about the many aspects of fishing, I was struck by the parallels of fishing to life in general.

Selecting and presenting the bait.

To catch a fish you have to know what to use, and you have to know how to present the bait to the fish to entice them to bite.  Life is also like this. You have to learn what makes other people tick, you have to know how to present information to them in a way that makes it attractive to them and entices them to take the information.

This can only be achieved by studying people in their environment and learning what encourages them, what distracts them, what spooks them and how do you imitate these various triggers to motivate them to cooperate with you in life.

But you also have to know these things about yourself….. otherwise you may be taking the bait presented by someone else, and you might find yourself hooked!


Casting involves a fine art of learning a series of steps and getting them in the right order at the right time to put your bait in the right place, ie where the fish are. Sometimes this is in the open, sometimes in and around the snags, sometimes in the deep, sometimes in the shallow.

Deciding where you are going to aim your life is like casting. If you are always aiming for the clear calm waters you may be missing many chances to catch a lot of life’s opportunities.

Opportunities are often in places you would not expect to find them, so sometimes you need to be in life’s shallows, sometimes you need to be in lifes’ muddy waters, sometimes you need to be in and around the snags in life to see them.


I have written before about patience, and the fact that it is not a passive pursuit, but rather an active and engaging process.

When fishing you really must be working at your patience. One thing kids love to do is to be casting and winding in….over and over and over again. It takes a while for them to appreciate that after you cast you have to have a period of patience. You need to allow time for the bait to settle where it needs to be and for the fish to become aware of it, and to assess whether it looks enticing enough to take a bite of.

Sometimes the length of time needed to exercise patience is short, sometimes it is lengthy but you need to be actively engaged in the act of patience and constantly aware of what is happening around you or you will never know …..

When to strike

Some species of fish are aggressive and attack the bait, some are fidgety and will nibble without too many clues that they are there, even though they are nibbling away at your bait.

If you strike to quick you can miss your fish by failing to set the hook, if you take too long you can be left with and empty hook and no bait.

Life’s opportunities are like this too. If you are too eager you might strike too early and snatch defeat from the jaws of success, if you wait too long others may have eaten up the opportunity and left you waiting on an empty hook.

Lets face it in life we are going to act too early or wait too long on a lot of occasions. But by being open to continual learning you will help improve the number of times you do manage to get the strike time just right, and when you do you also need to know….

What to keep and what to throw away

When fishing there are things like bag limits to let you know how many of what type of fish you are allowed to keep, how big the fish need to be to be legal etc.

It is also a great idea to limit what you keep  to what you need (within legal limits). Fish that are undersized should be thrown back, to help keep the system growing and make sure that there are fish still there for the future.

Learning what to keep and what to throw away are also vital to a successful life. If you keep everything your life becomes cluttered with too many things, you may also be stopping others from enjoying opportunities. By only keeping what you need you keep the options open for future opportunities and you keep your resources available for the future.

I love fishing, I love my kids and I love finding lessons like this while doing things I enjoy…..

What activities do you use to provide lessons in life for the ones you love?

A sad reflection on choices.

Gavel by WalknBoston

Gavel by WalknBoston

My Period of Reflection
I have been quiet here for a bit…. and that is because I have been participating in a Coroners Inquest into the drowning deaths of eight children. Each of these deaths is an absolute tragedy. Sadly toddler drowning deaths, and children being left severely disabled by non-fatal drowning accidents, occur all too frequently. In the developed world drowning is one of the top three causes of accidental death in children aged 0-4.

Being in the middle of a series of posts on choices, my time in the court was a cause for a great deal of reflection on the subject of choices, and on the consequences that can flow from seemingly harmless choices by a wide range of people.

Systems choices and the perfect storm

The choices that lead to the deaths of these children were not just choices made by parents or caregivers, they were also systems choices made by people . Choices  State Governments to ignore previous recommendations from Coroners to improve regulation and compliance with Swimming Pool fencing laws. Choices by  local government to not implement inspections and choices to not follow up on development applications. Choices made by real estate agents in leasing premises without regard to the safety of the pool. Choices made by landlords about what they would and would not repair. Choices made by retailers of swimming pools about what information they provide regarding the safety of swimming pools and the need for them to be fenced and comply with legislation.

Any single one of these decisions on their own would seem to be inconsequential, but as happens all too often, numerous choices not to act or choices to ignore result in a “perfect storm” and someone pays the price. Sadly in relation to swimming pools it is often a young child.

The Stigma

Many people often place the “blame” solely on the parents of children who have drowned without looking at the systemic issues involved. I have responded to one Journalist who is against proactive measures to reduce toddler drownings here.  Anyone with children will tell you that you cannot keep your eyes on them 24/7, it is impossible.

Maybe part of the reason it is so hard to effect change in this area is because of the stigma that people place on the parents of a child who has drowned/near drowned, that causes them to be very reluctant to speak out about the circumstances and issues surrounding the event. The additional fear of backlash after telling their story only serves to compound the grief and guilt that they already feel, and it always comes from those who say they ALWAYS watch their children.

Society in General

We all have a responsibility to help keep ALL of our children safe. We all have a responsibility to do what we can to prevent the leading causes of accidental death of our young children………

what would you be prepared to do to help save the life of a toddler……. how would you help stop the tragedy of child  death and disability from drowning….. I’d love to hear your suggestions……..

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