September 16th, 2008 | By Sonnie Johnson
I got another story for you. Hope you enjoy.
There was once a man that loved to go fishing. It was his favorite pass time. He spent endless hours everyday out on the lake. Well one day, a huge storm blew through the town and caused the people to lose most of their crops. The fisherman had stored so much fish, he didn’t have a problem helping feed the town.
A couple days after the storm, a young boy approached the fisherman. He said, ‘it was really amazing how you were able to step in and help the town. Can you teach me how to fish?’ The fisherman agreed and the boy started spending countless hours out on the lake. He often got teased for the way he smelled and dressed. He looked and smelled like a broken down fisherman. The boy didn’t care. He remembered how the man had helped save the town and he wanted to be like him.
With the boys help, it wasn’t long before the fisherman had restocked all his fish. The boy thought it would be a good idea to throw a party for the fisherman. He was sure the entire town would show up to say thank you to the fisherman. He went into town to start inviting people. He was shocked to hear their response. “All he does is fish, he should’ve helped the town out. ” “He can’t eat all that fish himself, he should give it to the town.”
The boy went back to the fisherman and told him about the people in the town. The fisherman wasn’t surprised. He just got his rod and went out to the lake. The boy thought to himself; if they can’t appreciate the man, then maybe they can appreciate the action. The boy began making signs to hang around the Town. “Free Fishing lessons to anyone that wants to learn.” Everyone laughed at the boy. No one took advantage of the free lessons.
The next year, the fisherman died, and left everything to the boy. Now he had his own house, his own boat, and his very own fishing rod. He continued to fish everyday and maintain his stock pile. One day, another storm blew into town and devastated the crops. The boy decided he was not going to share his fish with the town. This time he would sell it.
The people in the town who had money, bought the fish from the boy. The people who didn’t have money were furious. ‘Our town is struggling and you have the power to help, why won’t you?’ The boy responded, ‘I’ll help. I’ll give you all fish every time you come to the lake and help me fish.’
The people without money where offended. ‘The old fisherman didn’t make us work for food. He was happy to help out those that needed it. He would be so ashamed of you.’
The boy didn’t move his position. You help me fish, I help you to eat. The people got even madder. Two boys came to the boy and said we’ll help. The boy said, it’s not easy work. Sometimes I sit out on that lake for hours and nothing bites. It feels like I’m wasting my time. Then I have days where it seems the fish just jump into the boat. The two boys shook their heads and spent endless days out on the lake.
Now with the three of them fishing, the stock piles went through the roof. The town was beginning to brace for another storm. One of the boys went to the New Fisherman and said, ‘maybe we should take some fish into town, so we can give it away before the storm hits.’ The other boy said, ‘No. We should go out and hang up more signs for free fishing lessons.’
The fisherman looked at the two boys and told them they were both right. There are some in town that can’t fish. The very old, the very young, and some in the middle that have limited abilities. You can go into town and give them some fish. Then there are those who don’t understand you can be given fish to eat for a day or you can learn to fish and eat for a lifetime. So you can go and put up signs for those who are coming to understand the power of self sufficiency.
The problem comes when you continue to give away fish without offering a pole. Or offering a pole with nothing to sustain you until your first catch. Or refusing aid on the days when the fish just aren’t biting. It’s nothing wrong with helping those less fortunate, but it is something wrong with not giving them the desire to help themselves.
How many people want to sign up for those free fishing lessons? How many people expect the fisherman to continue to save the town? Say that storm hits while the fishermen are out on the lake and they don’t make it. Who will then fish for the town if no one else knows how?
Social Programs are a necessity. There are people out there that can’t do it by themselves. But there are those who refuse to try. Should they continue to get the fish? Or should that fish go to help those that are trying and hit a couple bad days when the fish aren’t biting? Give me a rod and you can keep your fish.