Alameda Sailing News & Events
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Have you ever been surprised to find out that your child doesn’t know how to do something that you’re pretty sure you learned by osmosis as a child. Something you couldn’t help but learn if you only woke up every day and lived with other human beings?
I have. My friends have experienced the same thing. I ask my wife, “Are we failing as parents?” That’s always an open question and the final results won’t be in for a long time.
But clearly, we need to think about doing something different because the world our kids are growing up in is very different from our own. Structured play, media on demand, … It might take a little effort to impart the lessons we absorbed naturally.
You wouldn’t send your kid to camp to learn how to put tape in the tape dispenser and other trivial tasks. What you would like is to stimulate their curiosity, learn how to work with others, solve problems and make all of that invisible because it’s so much fun, it happens by osmosis.
I didn’t learn to sail when I was young, but I wish I had. I learned in my 30s, made 3 passages across the pacific, became a professional instructor for a time and changed my life.
I have always been curious and was trained as a scientist. Besides a fascination with sailing upwind, I loved astronomy and the idea that the predictable motion of the stars could be used to find your position here on the earth.
But sailing also taught me about leadership, coaching others, planning ahead and developing alternatives in case things unfold differently from my expectations.
First of all you have to learn how a boat moves in a new and changing environment. Orienting to the wind instead of following a path laid out in advance. Then you learn to work with others as part of a team. The role of the crew (do your best, be observant and deliver your observations of the changing conditions) complements the role of the skipper (gather all the information, update your plan, let the crew know what you are thinking in advance of needing something to be done).
Now put all of this together where the environment is changing: the wind, the current (more to be curious about) and other boats trying to solve that puzzle at the same time.
What emerges is what we all want our children to be – tired and compliant. Those are just the positive side effects. They’ll be competent and confident, possessing skills they can use everyday on land as well as on water. They'll develop a love for the process of learning, and mastery of an activity that engages the mind, body and spirit.