A 3-year-old boy videotaped while catching his first fish has become an Internet celebrity because of the cuteness factor, but also because of the touching banter between “Teddy” and his father, who’s behind the camera. Teddy reels a colorful sunfish from from the water then quickly names it “Free.” He describes it as “beautiful” but appears perplexed as it dangles from a hook, at face level, motionless. The video generated comments such as “adorable” and “sweet,” but it also inspired an editorial in the Chicago Sun-Times, which portrays Teddy’s first catch as being symbolic of the magical allure of springtime and the outdoors, among other things.
“It reminds us as well of the power of nature to shape young minds and hearts for the better,” the editorial states, while touting benefits of outdoor recreation, particularly among children. “It is no stretch to say that when Teddy declares the fish is beautiful, he has discovered a truth about the whole world on a good day — it’s beautiful.”
But there’s the “harsh” matter of a fish dangling on a hook, clearly out of its element, perhaps inspiring Teddy to name it “Free.”
The boy asks his dad if the fish “likes me” and the dad lies, and the Sun-Times corrects: “Well, no, we think, that’s not true. The fish dangling from Teddy’s hook does not like Teddy. And we wonder if that was the question — ‘Does he like me?’ — of a future hunter or vegetarian.”
Readers might wonder if this statement represents an attack on fishing, or if it’s merely an observation. Certainly, the editorial is thought-provoking.
As for the fish, caught somewhere in Canada, it’s ultimately given back its freedom, and a beautiful day continues.