Far too often in our communities this beautiful proverb has become corrupted for the sake of personal profit…
“Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach a man to fish and he will eat for a lifetime.”
…or becomes so over complicated and weighed down in logistics and beauracracy that truly innovative ideas never become reality.
“Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach a man to fish and you can sell him expensive fishing equipment for a lifetime.”
“Give a man a fish? What type of fish? Trout? Scrod? Herring? Freshwater? Saltwater? Pickled? Perhaps funds need to be raised to cover the survey to acquire this information.
Is one fish, per man, per day, going to be sufficient? This will partly depend on the results of the aforementioned survey.
What about this man…What man? Who is this guy, anyway? Does he even deserve to be given a fish, much less taught how to fish? Perhaps we need to run a background check on this man to ensure that he isn’t likely to try to cut our throats with a fillet knife, just in case.
Now about this ‘teaching a man to fish’ nonsense. Who has the time to teach a man to fish? We have enough stuff going on in our lives. Do we really need the increased responsibility of running a fishing class for a bunch of grown men?
There are also a lot of intricacies to fishing. Selecting the correct type of rod, reel, fishing line, hook, and bait. Fishing is complicated! And I have to be honest; I don’t know squat about fishing. Who is going to pay for my continued education so that I can be properly qualified to teach such a topic?
In the mean time, let’s pretend I know how to fish. I’m a regular fishing guru. Where is this man going to go fishing? He’s going to have to arrange for transportation. Otherwise this is going to quickly become ‘…Teach a man to drive, and get him to his destination for a lifetime.” I can teach a man to drive, but I have to rent him a car now, too? We’re going to need more funding.
About the best thing we can do for this guy is to teach him how to pick out a fish. You want a fresh fish…that’s rule #1. It shouldn’t smell bad. If it smells bad, the fish is not fresh. Fresh fish should be kept on ice, and beware, they go bad quickly. You also want a fish that has already been cleaned, unless you already know how to clean it. Does this man know how to clean a fish? Oh, he knows how to clean a fish, but he doesn’t know how to catch one? That’s the trouble with today’s educational system. They teach you half of what you need to know. Forget it! That’s not our problem.
Come to think of it, this guy should simply become a vegetarian. In sixty-seconds we can teach him how to catch a soy bean.”