Pontoon Wisdom

When I was little, before Facebook and cell phones, when things seemed to be slower and mean more, my grandpa would take me cat-fishing almost every weekend. We would go out in the early evening before dark, anchor the pontoon, and get our chairs and poles ready. After we had put our poles out, my grandpa would tell me stories — of his childhood, service in the military, and life with my grandma. I didn’t know it at the time, but he was doing more than telling me stories– he was passing down life lessons, giving me wisdom, and forming who I would become as a man.

        Deuteronomy 6:4-9 instructs “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the door frames of your houses and on your gates.”

        My grandpa always pointed back to where God was in the story, how God had blessed him or spared him from something. At the time I was more concerned with his story than his message, but it left something on my heart and mind I can still feel today. There was no technology, no gadgets, just a fishing pole and lantern. But in those nights my grandpa wove a tale that has impacted a lot of aspects of my life. He was never one to be overbearing about his faith, but he also didn’t hide who he was or what he believed. At home or in public, he had a word for God and a heart to share his faith.


        So often we have our phones, tablets, or TV’s front and center in our lives. Netflix has talked to our kids more than we have. YouTube is now more of a companion than actual friends are. And we are risking life and limb to post that perfect selfie on any number of social media sites. Recently with a group of friends, I started —  like my grandfather — telling stories of when I was younger and when my wife and I got together. My daughter, who normally watches YouTube like it’s life, soaked all those stories in and started recounting them to her friends and family. It struck me how the simple act of sharing a story with her impacted her so deeply she had to tell others.

        I wonder what it would look like in our lives if we took more time to tell stories, to relive memories, and to show our kids what life was like before them. What if, instead of Facebook, you just gave them face-to-face talks? Could you start substituting Youtube for just you? Don’t take more selfies with your kids; rather, give more of yourself to them.


At Trinity we are all about connecting people with Jesus. That includes connecting families to Jesus and each other. It doesn’t matter if we are talking about friends, family, spouses or self — the first step to anything healthy is having God in the center.

So let’s all take a step back, unplug and unwind for a little while. Reconnect with family and friends; not over social media —  but over burgers on the grill or campfires in the backyard. Show your kids that friends and family are best in person, or show your spouse you really care– not by liking their status on Facebook, but by loving the status of their heart. Enjoy a cool breeze, laughter and lightning bugs, and maybe even some pontoon wisdom.


Ryan Schmitt

“Avid fisher…Father…Husband…Musician…Actor…Follower of Jesus!”

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