Letting go and fueling teamwork

Canoeing with my sons. 6.25.15

I love kayaking and being on the water.  I have canoed in Ohio & South Dakota.  Kayaked in South Dakota, Idaho, and Montana.  I have also white water rafted the Snake River (super high spring) in Idaho, and near Duluth in Minnesota.   I feel most alive and in my element near water and mountains and I try to instill this love in my children.   Now, I prefer to kayak because I like being in control (go figure).   But I can tell you that without the help of my crew while white water rafting in Idaho….I may not be here today.  As I was about to be tossed from our raft passing a very treacherous point in the river, the girl behind me (Krissy) literally used her oar as a bat and hit me square in the side of my life jacket to lob me back into the boat.  It was an exhilarating experience and I am grateful all the time for her quick thinking.

Teamwork in all areas of life goes a long way.  My sons are 17 months and two weeks apart in age.  They are either best friends or worst enemies.   Working together is a challenge most days, but yesterday they figured it out.    We started with me in the back of the canoe and they each took turns in front.  We enjoyed a leisurely paddle on the ponds, going under the bridges and even stopping for a short time on the small island.   They finally wanted to paddle together….this meant I had to sit on the floor of the boat in the middle and I wasn’t liking the idea at all.   I gave in and allowed them to talk it out, I gave advice on how to turn, when to paddle and other tips I have learned.    It seemed like we were spinning in circles for awhile, they each got irritated with the other and took it on themselves to tell the other what they were doing wrong.  AHA….a teachable moment.

I ordered paddles into the boat and we sat and talked.  We discussed how to speak respectfully when you need something from someone you are working with.  I talked about how, in roller derby, we talk in the pack to let our teammates know what we are doing or what we need them to do.  We agreed to talk and not fight and the paddles were returned to the water.   We zoomed across the water, they got us under the bridges, turned around and headed back to shore.  I was very proud.   As I climbed out of the canoe, I asked if they wanted to try going without me. Yes, I was completely scared to allow them on the lake without me, but I had to let go and trust their abilities.  They beamed with delight!   And they were fast.   They could maneuver around the course I gave them in less than 5 minutes and so I allowed them to keep practicing multiple times.    When they were done, you could see their pride and they even told each other what a good job they had done.

  
If my children are anything like me, I realize that having control is the comfort zone….but we all need to be reminded  that magic happens outside the comfort zone and sometimes we need a team to help get us there.

~Cakes~

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