The ups and downs, the oohs and aahs of life as a single mom to two girls...
Monday, October 20, 2008
Learning the Ropes
My girls are being much better prepared for the work world and adult life in general than I was as a kid. They are being taught to freely share their ideas and value teamwork.
Doodle has been giving presentations in class since 1st grade, with a particular emphasis on presentation skills in 3rd and 4th grade. She is a skilled presenter, and I credit the early training for that. Her class has weekly meeting where they troubleshoot problems and share ideas. Last Friday Doodle and her Girl Scout troop went to a high adventure facility to do a little teambuilding and have some fun. I took the day off work and tagged along. It was fascinating to watch the girls solve problems and learn some concrete life lessons.
They started by dividing into two groups who went to either side of a wide wooden seesaw. They had to move to the other side without letting the seesaw touch the ground. After a few failures, the girls started to work as a team, with a few of the girls holding the seesaw to keep it from reaching the ground. That helped, but the teams still failed to cross the seesaw. The first two to make it successfully across were Doodle and her BFF/soccer teammate. I wasn't surprised that they succeeded because they held the key: they communicated as they crossed, moving slowly and ensuring that they were in sync. After that, everyone started to communicate better and to ace the challenge. Next the girls had to swing by a rope to the side that they started on. The problem was that the rope was in the clearing between the two sides, unreachable by either team. The girls removed their jackets and started to tie them together so they could reach for the rope. I could tell that this wasn't going to work. A few of the jackets being tossed around didn't make it to their destination, instead landing on the wood chips. This gave the girls the idea of using the jackets as stepping stones, allowing them to reach the rope and complete the task, while shivering without their hoodies. To me this was the most interesting lesson of the day: sometimes our mistakes ultimately result in our greatest achievements.
The girls also got into harnesses and climbed high up in a tree and then rappelled down. They ended the day by getting back into the harness and being pulled with a rope high into the air by their teammates. Once they were as high as they wanted to go they pulled a release lever and went for the swing ride of their lives. In the photo below Doodle is just beginning to be pulled to dizzying heights. I think Doodle went the highest and the fastest; she is a total blur in my basically unusable pictures. But her huge smile is ingrained in my brain.
And the hot dogs and s'mores cooked over the camp fire weren't bad either.