Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Concentration (07/24/08)
TITLE: THE JOY OF FISHING
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Craig drew scribbles on the paper and then blacked them in with his pencil. He would do anything to postpone opening the book and beginning his homework. He had dreamed all day about going fishing after school.
“No’, his mother had said. “You will not leave this room until all your homework is completed.”
“Can’t I go fishing and do my homework later? I can do my lessons after dark, but I can’t fish after the sun goes down.”
“I said homework first. You are wasting time arguing. You could already have part of your work done “said mother.
He sat drawing, postponing the dreaded task ahead. No fishing today, he thought. I’ve got all evening, why rush? He drew a circle on his blank sheet. That can be the fish pond. Then he added trees around the circle. It begins to come alive. He added a little boy on a fishing dock, pole extended into the water. Really into his imagination now, he drew a fish approaching. The pencil and imagination connected—the fished approached, grabbed the hook, Craig snatched and the imaginary fish landed on the dock beside him.
He felt a presence behind him, interrupting his deep concentration.
“What are you doing?” his mother asked.
Abruptly brought back to the presence, he said. I am just drawing. I’ve got all evening to finish my homework.”
“If you had applied the time to your homework, you’ve spent on day-dreaming, you would have been finished.” she said.
Next day at school was another “bomber”. It was a perfect spring day, just right for fishing. The teacher’s voice droned on—but Craig’s mind was fishing. Now for homework today, she was saying, bring him back to the classroom. He couldn’t go fishing. Mother would make him do his homework.
Slinging his book bag onto his back as he walked toward the bus, he thought about his mother’s advice the day before. He would try to do his homework today. He might be able to do both his homework and go fishing.
Seated at his desk later, he pulled out a clean sheet of paper, drew a circle and then placed a smaller one in the center of the large one. In it, he wrote: concentrate on homework. He sat starring at it as he reached for his book. As he had imagined the fish yesterday, today, he could see his English questions being answered.
He went to work, his mind looking through the circle labeled concentrate. His hand guided the pencil quickly recording the words his eyes and mind were finding on the printed page.
He was deep in concentration when he felt his mother’s presence behind him. “I’m almost finished,” Craig said. “May I go fishing?”
“Sure, you’ll have plenty of time. See how quickly unpleasant things go when you discipline your mind.” replied his mother.
Craig quickly gathered up his fishing pole and bait and headed toward the pond. He baits the hook, throws out the line and relaxed as he watched for the cork to bobble, indicating a fish nibbling. His mind was not burdened with thoughts of homework, so he could enjoy day dreaming as he watched his fishing pole.
He was content and happy. Some days all he wanted to do was be alone and day dream. He was at peace then; much more than in the midst of people. His teacher was always lecturing them on discipline and concentration. He bet she didn’t know what it was to be alone and dream. As he watched the cork, he thought about discipline. He knew if he didn’t hold the pole still, the fish would not come. That was a form of discipline allowing him to achieve his goal of catching a fish.
Disciplining himself to do his homework first and concentrating on what he was doing had accomplished the unpleasant task and allowed time for fun.
“I’ll create my own secret code, Craig said aloud to the silences. I’ll stamp the words:
Disciplined Concentration on my mind. Then I can go fishing every evening.
Just then the cork bobbled and went under the water. Craig pulled in a fish the size of his hand. He was happy.
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