Usually this blog contains tech related information. However, I had an experience on vacation that is worth sharing…
One calm morning, I took my daughter and her cousin out on a canoe ride. First we all put our life jackets on. Next, the girls listened patiently as I explained canoe safety and paddling.
Then we set out to put the canoe in the water. There was about 60 yards and a flight of stairs between us and the water. If you have ever tried to carry a five person aluminum canoe, you know that this can be a difficult task. You should also know that the girls were ages 7 and 11 and their weight combined was probably the same as the boat.
We tried to lift a little and drag the canoe to the water, but the grass beneath us was impeding progress. So we all lifted the canoe and shuffled ten steps - then rested. Then we repeated the process. It was a chore, and we looked like we were struggling.
A couple aunts and uncles stepped in and offered assistance. I waved them off and without thinking said “If these girls want to go on a canoe ride, we will get the boat to the water ourselves.” This off-hand remark carried more weight than I thought it would.
We had a nice boat ride and returned to the shore. I mentioned to the girls that we had to put our oars, life jackets, and the boat away before doing anything else. I lifted the boat back up to the level of the lawn and needed to wash the sand off of my head before helping the girls carry the boat back to its resting place. I walked back to the lake and rinsed the sand off my arms and head and went back to assist in carrying the boat.
By the time I got back, two little girls, who weighed approximately as much as the boat, had gotten the boat 90% of the way back to where we started! I was startled. Had they really done it? There was no body else around…
I learned a lesson that morning. If you set your standards and expectations high, you may struggle to achieve your goal. But, the act of setting that seemingly unachievable goal puts it into the realm of possibility. Those two little girls did something really difficult that morning and taught me something in the process - without even trying.