A recent writer tells in one of his books of an experience he had as a boy when he went on a fishing-trip with his father.
They were wading along in brooks with their rubber-boots on. But sometimes the water was too deep for him, and he was in danger of getting his feet wet by the water running in over the tops of his boots. When, however, they came to places like these, his father would take him pig-a-back and carry him along, and then the boy would fish with his rod resting on his father’s shoulder, and his line dangling in front. And this writer says that he used to catch many fish in this way. Then he adds, “How many of our best catches in life are made over someone’s else shoulder?”
I think that fathers and mothers are always allowing their children to fish over their shoulders, don’t you? When they send you to school to get an education, so that in later life you may enjoy good books, you are catching fish over their shoulders. When they give you money to travel, so that you may know what a big, beautiful place the world is, you are fishing over their shoulders. When they give you beautiful homes, so that you shall have good friends and grow up thoughtful, well-mannered men and women, you are fishing over their shoulders.
In fact, it seems to me that we should not catch many fish at all if it were not for our loving, painstaking, unselfish parents.
And don’t you think we ought to be obedient and thoughtful of them when they carry us along so uncomplainingly and rejoice in seeing us take in such beautiful catches from life?
Have you ever heard of a picture that was called “Opportunity?” It represents a person with a great deal of hair on her forehead, but none on the back of her head. The meaning of the picture is this: When you catch an opportunity as it comes, it is easy to hold; but once you let it get by you, it is very difficult to catch it again. It is something like trying to catch a train that has just pulled out of the station.
I used to live near a boy in Canada who did not like to go to school, and when the snow was deep and the weather was frosty he would find some excuse by which he got his mother to let him stay at home. When he grew up he found out what he had missed by not getting an education, and he tried to make it up, but he could not. He was running after the train. He soon got discouraged and gave up, and tried to get his living in some other way than by hard work. The last I heard of him he had just been arrested for stealing.
I have known other boys and girls who thought of joining the Church, but they just kept putting it off and putting it off, thinking that any time would do well enough. And then, as they got older, they felt that they weren’t good enough, or that some of their friends might not approve, and so they have grown up and have not yet joined, and each year it keeps growing harder.