Tag Archives: teamwork

KIDS SHOULD RUN WILD

As kids, my bigger sister and me always hung out together, always. During summers we lived on the farm of my grandparents. There was a lake, forests, animals, outhouses and barns…There was also really nobody to pay much attention to what us kids did, as long as we were back for dinner and dinnertime was always the same. We ran wild during those summers, spending our time in creative freedom…Until we were found out or caught doing some prank, when we would be locked into our room for a day, only to pick up where we left off once we were released again. My sister was amazing at thinking up pranks, I did the planning and more often or not, she would get us caught. We were incredibly creative and energetic; small forces of energy and power that easily could dismantle a small vehicle in no time. We were awesome! There was nothing that couldn’t be turned into a game or a challenge.

Forward 25 years: I have 4 children ranging from age 2 to 10. We live in the forest on the farm of my grandparents, on the other side of the lake. I had only one rule for the children and their myriads of friends that came and went: “Don’t even look at the well or the train tracks”. That worked. Once those kids were out of the house, I would not see them for hours and I had no idea where they were or what they were up to…They were running wild. I figured that they were so many so if somebody would get hurt, the others would get help. I found remnants of their games; a hut they had built 600 meters into the forest with mattresses and stuff they had dragged out there, it must have taken days, weeks. The kids would come home with torn clothes, scrapes, dirt and huge tired smiles. Sometimes they told me what they did, more often not. But I always knew; I used to be them, the child running wild, finding adventure everywhere.

Now they are grown up and I enjoy listening to their stories of what they did. Sometimes I am slightly horrified and so glad I didn’t know at the time. When listening to them I see that they learned so many skills; communication, planning, executing a plan by working as a team. Fairness, sharing, helping, assertiveness (try being the youngest of all; it’s mighty hard work being allowed to participate as other than a slave.) And I realize that some of the most important stuff I learned was in the time when I was a child running wild. Such kids are always clever.

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IN THE DITCH

Every now and then things go wrong in life – c’est normale! Question is how we handle it. Do we berate ourselves (and others) or do we look for solutions? “In the ditch” is about that; how we handle the negative stuff in life. This story was the first AHA-moment in this arena for me back in the 90’s and that’s why I want to share it with you:

My hubby and I were in the car going somewhere on a dark and icy winter-evening. For whatever reason we ended up in the ditch. I suppose we were both rather shocked at first and then angry. We got into a heated argument about why we were in the ditch and who’s fault it was. (sounds familiar?) I think we probably spent more than 30 min arguing until we were so cold that we could hardly move. Cold is sobering and at one point we realized that this squabbling would not solve our dilemma, so we put the argument aside and managed to get the car out of the ditch with some nice team-work.

The morale of the story is this: When things go wrong, you can either spend your energy and time on finding excuses and “something to blame” or you can cut your losses and get back on track. It is always good to understand the reason why something doesn’t work because it is a learning experience for future use, this is a forward moving action. But crying about something and looking for blame is paralyzing. Then you stay in the ditch until you die.