Our friend Bob Kren’s son Michael shows all of us how it’s done with this good looking 7 1/2 lb largemouth caught in a friend’s neighborhood lake. Michael also caught a 5 pounder the same day. Now if we could just figure out where that lake is!
The other day our oldest daughter Kristy suggested I write a note to my oldest granddaughter who, at 18 years old, is about to graduate from high school. I ask Kristy what she thought I should write. Her answer was straightforward if not a bit off-putting: “Just write something that she can use the rest of her life”, she suggested.
Right. That should be easy. Well, I did come up with something. Nothing that profound, but simply my own personal “rules of engagement” for life. Now this took some time and I have to admit that by the time I had finished I realized I had a newsletter due and literally no time to write a story for this issue. As panic set in I started thinking that perhaps a few of you may have children or grandkids or friends who may be graduating this time of year as well. Maybe this note to my granddaughter could be of some use to them as well, or at least kindle some ideas of yours that you could pass on to them. That’s when I decided to make that note to my granddaughter this newsletter’s story. If I offend anyone I am sorry. If I come across as too righteous or too preachy my sincere apologies. Like I said, this took forever to write so you’re now stuck reading my note to my beautiful, smart, and oldest granddaughter. I hope you enjoy it.
My dearest Katie,
You will be graduating soon and I figured I won’t have too many opportunities to share what little wisdom I have acquired with you before you think you’ve got it all figured out and know most of what is important. That’s sort of an occupational hazard for high school seniors who are about to graduate.
I have lived a great life and have always operated with a few “principles” that have served me well. No, I haven’t always been able to religiously follow each of these principles, but by and large they have guided me my entire life. They’re pretty basic and something I trust you will perhaps find useful as you prepare for the rest of your life.
Be a good communicator and have good manners – I’m not a big fan of email, texting, faxes, and to some extent even letters (this note perhaps an exception). I see your generation losing the ability to communicate “intimately” (actual human contact and interaction) as well as sorely lacking in using what your Grandma and I consider good manners.
I firmly believe that your generation’s success in business, socially, politically, spiritually, etc. will be determined by how skillful you are at communicating face-to-face, voice-to-voice and how good your manners are. Why? Because I see your peers quickly substituting texting, Facebook, email, and other “non-contact” media for face-to-face communication. I see them spending more time looking at their phones than looking at who they are supposedly talking to. I see them unable or unwilling to say “please” and “thank you”, “yes ma’am” and “no ma’am”, or “yes sir” or “no sir”. I see them not asking to be excused from the table or coming and going during a meal as if they’re the only people who matter. And when you don’t use a skill such as good manners regularly you lose it. Worse, I’m not even sure many of your generation have ever developed these skills to any degree of proficiency in the first place.
So, someone who has mastered good manners and the skills of communication using actual human contact and interaction will be the exception rather than the rule. He or she will have a skill set that most peers have either lost or are unwilling to make the effort to develop. It will give you a fantastic advantage over others and yet be so subtle and innocuous that no one will realize just what you do to make yourself so prescient and so successful.
Always expect the best from others – I guess some would call this optimism or even being a Pollyanna, but when you consider the alternative this just seems the logical choice. Most people want to meet others expectations, so if you expect bad things that’s probably what you’ll get. Expect good things and that’s very likely what you will get. Sorta’ common sense wouldn’t you say?
If you cannot say something good about someone then say nothing at all – Your Great Grandma (my Mom) taught this to me. She drilled this into me every day. And soon enough I found myself practicing what my Mom had taught me. Since my Mom never talked bad about anyone I found it easy to do the same. When I didn’t it felt awkward if not downright shameful. Best of all, there’s no downside to saying only good things about someone or simply being silent if you can’t.
Happiness is an inside job – You know who said this? Famous Amos, the cookie guy. Probably one of the great remarks of all time. And so true. You, my dear Granddaughter, decide what kind of day you will have. Good or bad. Happy or sad. It’s all perceptual – your perception and your decision. Practice this and you will have wonderful life.
Always believe in yourself – There will be times when this will be a real task, but you must persevere. How can you expect others to believe in you, your abilities, your sincerity, your love if you don’t. You know the person you are better than anyone, so who better to believe in her abilities?
Never ever tell a lie – There will be times this will be tough. Often the truth hurts and none of us want to hurt someone else. Just learn the difference between telling the truth and sharing your honest opinion and you’ll be fine. There are many ways to tell the truth, and often this does not include your “honest opinion”.
When it comes to black and white, truth or lies, always tell the truth. It’s easier in the long run and simply put, “the right thing to do.”
Don’t worry; it’s a waste of time – If you like stress maybe you shouldn’t consider this. They say 95% of what you worry about never happens anyway. I’m not sure if that percent is right, but I do know that whether or not you worry about something never affects the outcome. Plus, there is so much more you could be doing with your time. Constructive stuff.
Be a good listener – Too many people think the opposite of listening is waiting. Waiting to talk again. When you do this you aren’t listening you’re anticipating. And you miss so much. Learn the art of listening. People have wonderful thoughts and ideas. You don’t want to miss even a syllable.
Never hate anyone or anything – Here’s another one I learned from Mom. Hate is the most destructive thing on this planet. It’s ugly and it’s all bad. Wars are fought because of hate. I know there will be times that not hating will be difficult (believe me, I know) but make yourself think of other things, other thoughts. You’ll be a better person and way ahead of many others who do allow hate to populate, and at times dominate or even destroy their lives.
Never tell anyone they lack the mental or physical capability to do something> – This has been a rule your Grandma and I have followed raising our three children (your Mom being the oldest). How can anyone succeed if those they love expect them to fail? How do you know they can’t do something unless you let them try (and expect them to succeed)?
This may be more appropriate when you are older and have children of your own, but I think it’s a pretty good rule for all of us to follow whether regarding our children, friends, relatives, or casual acquaintances. Kinda’ goes back to always expecting the best.
God did not put us on this earth to fail – Maybe this should be obvious, but it seems something that is often forgotten. God loves us and wants only the best for us. That includes that we be happy. That we succeed in what we choose to do. Failure can be defined many ways, each definition dependent on an individual’s perspective. But whatever that definition is you can bet it’s not about succeeding. It’s not about winning. It’s not about being happy and feeling we have accomplished something. And as I said, God wants us to win. That’s what we’re supposed to do. He’s on your side and rooting for you! You can do it with God’s help.
Always tell those you love that you love them – How can something this simple be so damn hard? More often than not we’re embarrassed to simply say “I love you”. Yet there are so many we love. Maybe in our society saying “I love you” just makes us too vulnerable. Too exposed.
You shouldn’t care. Telling someone you love that you love them is important. Both to you and them. It’s intimate and it’s special. Your Grandma and I have always told our kids (your Mom included) we love them many times every day. It became a part of our daily routine. But it never became meaningless. It was always heartfelt and sincere.
Now this takes practice, but your life will be so much fuller if you do this. Your family and friends so much closer. And life so much better.
Given your young age you may not have lost anyone who died. I would hope you never do, but that is not how life works. When this inevitably happens I can assure you that you will wish you had told them that you love them. Don’t miss the opportunity. It will still hurt when you lose them, but at least you will know they knew you loved them.
Finally, trust in God – I can only imagine how much would be missed if we did not trust in God. And I can’t imagine NOT trusting in God. What a hollow life we would live. There is so much we would miss.
Trusting in God means we trust. You cannot follow the ideals I have given you in this note if you do not trust in God. That’s simply impossible. And from a purely practical perspective, what do you have to lose? Trust in God and I can assure you that all I have written here will be a natural by-product of that trust.
My dear granddaughter, I love you and wish you a wonderful life. You have such a remarkable journey ahead of you. Make the most of every day and always remember to stop and smell the roses. They, like you, are beautiful.
All my love,
This issue we have some great news and deals. We’re featuring the new Shimano jigs which, if you haven’t tried them will simply amaze you. Details on these as well as the fantastic Shimano Terez rods are below and worth the read. Spring is in full bloom (pardon the pun) and what better time to get tuned up and organized. Be sure to take a look below at our all wood 40 rod rotating rod rack as well as our Ardent reel cleaning and tune-up products. We also have Engel Coolers with Free Shipping (below) and lots, lots more we think you will be interested in.
Thanks to everyone for your great friendship and support. It’s been a great Spring so far and we thank each and every one of you for your continued confidence and patronage. Very much appreciated!