Fish now or forever hold your peace.


Benjamin, Ethan and Lily

It was a moment of time that I will never forget. The objective was clear then, rather forlorn now.

Grandsons Benjamin and Ethan were standing in their living room. In a moment of what I thought would be inspiration I said, “Boys, I’m getting a new boat next month. Please get good grades on your next report card so I can take you fishing”. Their eyes lit up as if they were looking at a Christmas tree. Their sister Lily smiled and said it was fun to fish with Paw-Paw. She knew from experience. Good grades came easily for her.

It was a misty morning while all three of them waited for their school bus. Ethan darted in front of a vehicle while playing with his brother. The driver braked and swerved but it was too late. Ethan died instantly.

My moment of “leadership” failed. Ethan will never go on that fishing trip. I dangled that trip on the boat like a carrot, hoping to inspire him. In hindsight, I realize I did that all backwards.

Leadership by example is far more effective. Had I taken Ethan fishing upfront, he would have been far more motivated to get good grades. Perhaps Ethan would have chosen to read a book like his sister that fateful morning. We will never know.

Ethan did not die for nothing, as three good things will happen.

First, the dangerous bus stop lies between two curves in the road with an intersection in the middle. We are petitioning the county to erect bus stop signs on both sides of the road. Seven other children will be safer for it.

Secondly, Ethan’s brother will be going fishing as soon as the weather warms up.

Thirdly, this grandfather learned a tough lesson about leadership.

Blessings, -TJ

About TJ Stallings

45-year tackle industry veteran Marketing and Crazy Ideas at TTI-Blakemore Fishing Group (Home of Road Runner Lures and six hook brands including Tru-Turn, Daiichi, XPoint, Team Catfish, Mr. Crappie and StandOUT Hooks.) Home of Gun Protect. The opinions expressed in this blog are those of TJ Stallings and not necessarily those of TTI-Blakemore.
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14 Responses to Fish now or forever hold your peace.

  1. TJ. What a awful thing to happen to a family. My codolescences to your entire family. Don

  2. Wilber Godsey says:

    Grand Dad, You are going to be okay! So sorry this happened but I believe you are a leader! God bless you and I will be praying for you and your family!
    Wilber Godsey

  3. Josh Sutton says:

    May God bless and give your family peace during this time. Farther along we’ll know all about it, farther along we’ll understand why. I pray God be with you.

    Josh Sutton

  4. TJ Stallings says:

    Thank you all. I just hope someone learns from my mistake.

  5. Dave Willis says:

    TJ, my sincere condolences. I have no words for you.


  6. Doug Kelly says:

    Oh my, TJ, that’s heart breaking. My best wishes and prayers are with you.

  7. Rhonda West says:

    You’re a wonderful Grandfather and did not fail. Inspiration and leadership go hand-in-hand and you most certainly exemplify both — both then and now.
    May you find continued strength in the love of family and in the warm embrace of your many friends. You and your family remain in my thoughts and prayers daily. Rhonda

    The tide recedes but leaves behind bright seashells on the sand.
    The sun goes down, but gentle warmth still lingers on the land.
    The music stops, and yet it echoes on in sweet refrains…..
    For every joy that passes, something beautiful remains.
    ~quote by Antoine de Saint-Exupery~

  8. Gutsy, noble, and honest self-appraisal. World would be a far better place if we all were so self-aware of our lives and our actions.

  9. Lord, May Blessings of Peace and Comfort shower the Stallings Family’s Future, This I pray in the name of Jesus.

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