As we did, we talked and laughed and reminisced about the times we had once spent together fishing the pond on our property back when he was a small boy growing up down in south Georgia. I failed to realize at the time what those days had meant to him. I now know.
On the way home tonight, I was reminded of a story I had read once about James Boswell, the famous biographer of Samuel Johnson, who often referred to a special day in his childhood when his father took him fishing. We are told that the day was fixed in his adult mind, and he often reflected upon many of the things his father had taught him in the course of their fishing experiences together.
After having heard of that particular expression so often, it occurred to someone much later to check the journal that Boswell’s father kept and determine what had been said about the fishing trip from the parental perspective. Turning to that date, the reader found only one sentence entered: “Gone fishing today with my son; a day wasted.”
Gordon MacDonald opines on this story in his article titled “No Day Is Ever Wasted”. He writes:
Few have ever heard of Boswell’s father; many have heard of Boswell. But in spite of his relative obscurity, he must have managed to set a pace in his son’s life which lasted for a lifetime and beyond. On one day alone he inlaid along the grain of his son’s life ideas that would mark him long into his adulthood. What he did not only touched a boy’s life but also set in motion certain benefits that would affect the world of classical literature.
Too bad that Boswell’s father couldn’t appreciate the significance of a fishing trip and the pacesetting that was going on even while worms were being squeezed on to hooks. No day is ever wasted in the life of an effective father.
How right he is! A current ad campaign on the importance of fatherhood can be found at www.fatherhood.gov. It stresses the fact that the smallest moments can have to the biggest impacts on the life of a child.
Having now come full circle to witness the testimony of my grown children, I can see that much more clearly than I did when I was a young father struggling to balance my time between work and family. No day is ever wasted with one’s children. So, please, men, take time to be a dad today!
SOURCE: Gordon MacDonald, “No Day is Ever Wasted,” The Effective Father, 79–80, from KneEmail, as quoted at http://www.housetohouse.com/HTHPubPage.aspx?cid=13131.