Voices from the River: Little lessons, little streams

By Shauna Stephenson

In a moment of exasperation, I sent her to bed early. 

In truth, it was only five or 10 minutes early. But being new to telling time, that fact was lost on her and the consequence had the desired effect—six-year-old disbelief.

There was the attitude and then the temper tantrum — like all children, the demand followed by the whine. And then the small request from me was met with the meltdown from her. We were both at our wits end. Standing next to her bed I told we were a team and she was a big girl now. That I needed her help.

We had been marooned in a blast of winter in recent weeks, struggling to keep fires built, to keep pipes unfrozen, to care for animals and keep vehicles from quitting on us. We weren't losing, exactly, but definitely not winning either. In a deep freeze and a state of single parenting, when it was only me and her and her baby brother, it was starkly clear how small actions not taken add up to big consequences.

This was the lesson I wanted to impart. 

The next morning as I was working through plans for Trout Unlimited's response to the Clean Water Rule comment period, it dawned on me that the lessons we teach our children— are taught as children — never quite leave us.

Small things turn into big things.

Small streams lead to creeks which lead to rivers which lead to the sea. How we treat the small things defines the health of the big. Failing to protect those small streams today will come back to be consequential tomorrow. 

Just as a family must pull as a team, so too must the sporting community to protect our fisheries. We are responsible for our own future. It's on us to act.


Tell the EPA you support clean water by April 15:


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