I expect that most of us have heard the popular notion "Give a man a fish and he'll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish and he'll eat for a lifetime."
Across the years several of us have appended the common wisdom with an additional statement, "But best of all is pond ownership, or at least a key to the gate that lets you in so you can fish!" Access to opportunity is essential no matter what one's skill set.
My experience last Friday reminded me of another important component to success in any life-sustaining endeavor that involves skill development: all of us need a guide. Mentors who teach us the ropes beyond just the raw skills are absolutely essential to success and progress as individuals and as communities.
My oldest grandson, Wyatt, his dad and I went to Lake Texoma to fish for small mouth bass, commonly known as Stripers.
We met Roger, our guide for the day.
All of us had experience fishing.
We all knew how to cast a line, to use a rod and reel. We'd baited many a hook prior to this trip.
Roger instructed us in a few of the fine points of the particulars of fishing for Stripers, but he did much more than that.
Roger showed us where the fish were!
He went right to them because he knew the vast lake that stretched out for miles before us like the back of his hand. He knew when they would bite. He had it all figured out.
So, all three of us got busy with what we knew--fishing. But we put our weight down on what he showed us as our guide. He navigated the waters, prepared us for the cold wind and spray and led us to the treasure! By the time our day was over we all considered Roger not only the expert, but more importantly, our good friend!
The city is full of people with great potential, many skills and great desire.
What's needed in every case is a trusted guide or guides to walk alongside for just a ways until everyone can find the path to what they need most. It is a self-deluding myth to believe that we can somehow make it in life all on our own. There is really no such thing as a self-made man or woman. We all need help. Those of us who are doing relatively well have enjoyed plenty of it.
Oh, and I apologize for shamelessly displaying our catch. But pictures seem to make my point best of all.
I assure you, without the guide, we have no photos, to say nothing of a completely different set of memories!