Last year I started learning how to fish for King Salmon and Steelhead. I’d regularly fished for Atlantic Salmon in Scotland, but soon discovered I needed a whole new set of skills and tackle.
When I first started going into Michigan Tackle shops, I would begin by mentioning that I had fished for Atlantic Salmon for many years and was keen to try my hand at Kings and Steelies. I used to get frustrated that the store staff and neighboring anglers would share very little advice or local knowledge with me.
Was I coming across like a know-it-all? Did they just assume, “Oh, well he sounds as if he knows what he’s doing.”
Then I decided just to say nothing about my past angling experience. Just go in and ask some questions. Again, little or nothing in the way of help. And sometimes worse – sending me to the wrong places with the wrong tackle. Did I look as if I was going to empty their rivers of all their precious fish? Or maybe they’re still fighting the War of Independence in Northern Michigan.
I know nothing
This year, I took a different tack – and struck information gold! My first line to local guides and tackle shops was, “Look, I’m a complete novice at this and know absolutely nothing. Can you help out a total beginner?”
And out the information gushed: best spots, best tackle, best lures, best days, and best techniques. And as you can see – in came the fish!
Maybe they thought, “Well this poor guy hasn’t got a hope of hooking a King, never mind getting one in his net.” More likely, I think people like to teach the teachable. They enjoy having expert knowledge that they can pass on to willing students. It’s enjoyable to see others acknowledge, seek, and benefit from their expertise.
Teach me everything
The key to learning is admitting ignorance. As a teacher and preacher, I’ve certainly experienced the opposite. When I’m with someone who can’t stop talking about what they know, and who never asks a question in even an hour of conversation, I clam up, lose interest, and begin to think, “How can I get out of this fast?”
I wonder how often God has felt like that with me? With you? If we want to learn anything from God, let’s take His Word to Him and say, “Lord, I know nothing. Teach me everything.”
Has He not promised: “The humble He guides in justice, and the humble He teaches His way” (Ps. 25:9).
P.S. Knowing Nate E. helps too