Do you train your child or does your child train you?
This is a picture of my son's NJROTC Orienteering team 2012/2013 season.
Orienteering is a learned skill.
These young adults learn to maneuver through unfamiliar wooded territory by equipping themselves with valuable tools.
These tools are a compass for direction; a map to show the way; a whistle to alert for help, the knowledge of how to properly use each of these tools to run their course and most importantly a support system standing by.
Orienteering is both an individual and team sport.
In the shortest time possible an orienteer runs their designated course equipped with these tools to reach their goal; the finish line.
If they stay on course by using their map they reach several small goal markers along the way that lead them to the larger goal of the finish line. If they decide to take short cuts then they may run into unknown obstacles or terrain and must use their compass and map to put them back on track.
If their attempts fail and all options have been exhausted then they have a support systems to fall back on that is standing by to aid. No one leaves until all are accounted for. They are equipped with a whistle to alert for help and those standing by have an idea approximate amount of time it takes to run a course.
If time is surpassed we become alerted and alarmed, if time is way past then search teams are formed, directions are given and communication devices are used until the lost is found.
Regardless they have prepared and equipped themselves with the knowledge, the tools and a support system to complete their goal.
It is great fun watching this unfold and listening to these teenagers [excuse me] young adults share their stories, triumphs and failures of their run all while learning to do a better job the next time.
As I watch these events unfold I ask myself...Isn't this how life should work? Isn't life both individual and team oriented?
Follow me on this and see if it makes sense to you...
We must equip ourselves with the valuable tools, gain the right knowledge and surround ourselves with a support system. We do this knowing we will be hitting unfamiliar territory.
What do you do when that happens? Do you check your compass and read your map to put you back on course?
What happens if you can't put yourself back on life's track? Do you wonder aimlessly or do you blow your whistle for help?
Surround yourself with a support system and if you get lost along the way and need help to achieve that goal then be brave and use your whistle. You never run a race alone in life, there should always be guides and support systems along the way.
By the way our team ended with a strong season, 3rd overall in the Nation. This has been a really a great group of young adults and a super support system is in place. My son leaves for college in less than a week and how blessed I feel that he has been a part of it learning survival in his new life's adventures and the lessons I have learned along the way.
Life will throw those unfamiliar terrains at you, the scenery changes and can catch you off course. Prepare yourself and don't be afraid to blow the whistle when you feel exhausted.