Friday, April 4, 2014

Being Correct ≠ Being Right

      Earlier this week, I received the most recent issue of Trout magazine (the quarterly publication of Trout Unlimited).  It contained following editorial:

"The Future of Trout Fishing"
You know who you are.  You are the guide that unloaded on my son on a beautiful Montana river that day, while leading your client to an upstream spot.  Your inability to see what was right in front of you astounded me. As a guide, and protector of our sport and resources, you found it necessary to yell across the river and inform my 14-yr-old son that the was not handling a hooked cutthroat [trout] with the deftness he should.  You were correct . . . but very wrong.  What you didn't see right there in front of you was the future of everything you love.  This young man was not sitting in front of a computer waging mock war.  He was not sitting in front of a television watching mindless movies.  He was standing in the middle of a Montana river learning to fly fish.  You had a chance to blow gently on this glowing ember, but you snuffed it out.  You should have yelled, "Nice fish!" and given him a thumbs up.  He would have basked in that recognition forever.  Instead, you embarrassed him.  You changed the pride he felt into abject humiliation.  Shame on you.  Jus plain shame on you.  Don't worry though.  I think with careful attention, I can get the ember to glow again . . . in spite of you.
Steve Baker.*
The editorial hardly needs comment.  But, as a parent and teacher, I needed to take a step back and wonder how often my felt need to be "correct" was exactly the WRONG thing that was needed at that moment.
        And I wonder, too, how often the "righteous" do irreparable damage to their closely-held convictions and traditions by being unwilling to open their hearts to the cautious steps of someone learning to find their way.
       Read the editorial again.  'Nuff said for this week.


Chaplain Gary

*Trout, Spring 2014, Volume 56, Number 2, p. 12


  1. Lovely thoughts. But there is a way to turn this sour "lemon" into lemonade, or a tasty lemony sauce to go with the fish. Discuss the hurt, name it, and use it as a learning opportunity -- the boy/person will remember this experience the next time he feels like being a know-it-all to someone else, and very likely will take a kinder approach to teaching.

  2. Good suggestion! That may have happened. Trout Unlimited offered the dad and son a free guide trip. The dad declined, saying that he had found a way to keep the flame ignited.