That’s Danny. He’s six. We went fishing tonight for the first time this summer. We’d been meaning to go sooner, but his Disney Cars fishing pole was broken. Yesterday my wife picked up the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles one, so nothing was holding us back. We left the house and walked the quarter mile from our front door to the lakefront. While we walked, Danny wondered what would would happen if it rained as we fished, or maybe if we got hit by lightning, and why there was so much gravel on the road. He even talked about how our hair is like an umbrella, and that his sisters have HUGE umbrellas!
When we got to the beach, Danny pointed out where we should set up. I reminded him how to cast the line and baited his hook for him with a little piece of hot dog (local fish favorite). After two failed attempts to cast the bait anywhere near the water, he got it out there on the third. It only took a couple seconds for his line to go under. We reeled and reeled (TMNT fishing poles have limited effectiveness) and hauled in the first catch of the day. He kept casting and kept catching, fish after fish. Every now and then he let me have a turn, too. During my turns, he ran back and forth on the grass behind us, jumping in the air making Super Mario “WooHoo!” sounds and forgetting to notice that I wasn’t catching anything.
Then, as I reeled in my first catch of the day, he said:
“Dad. I think I have just joy in my head. Not anger or sadness or fear or…what’s the green one from the movie…disgust. They’re not up there. Just joy.”
“Me too, Danny.” I said. “I have just joy, too.”
I can’t help but think about all the students coming to school soon. Do they have anger? Do they have sadness or fear or the green one? Can students who come into my classroom leave it thinking “I have just joy in my head.” Learning is joyful, happy, and exciting. Wherever I am this year, I’m going to try to spread goodness, happiness…just joy.
Wherever I am this year, I’m going to try to spread goodness, happiness…just joy.
Danny caught 10 fish tonight. He wanted to catch 11, but it did start to rain and we decided to head home. I shouldn’t have waited this long to go fishing with him, but I’m glad we went tonight. I go back to school in two days. Even so, we’re going to go fishing whenever we can, because he deserves to have Just Joy.