Sunday, September 07, 2008

Set the bar.... high

This weekend marked a fantastic occasion for the important family value of believing in yourself. It took place at a charity adventure race event called the Adventure Challenge. Hosted by IF & the Canuck Place Hospice, it’s an opportunity to combine activity / fitness and fundraising for an important cause. End of day the event raised over $200,000.00 for the hospice.

This year, we decided our children would participate and as such, spent the summer hiking & biking at elevated levels with the boys (6 & 8) in order they understood what it was like to put in the time to prepare for something long term. This was not a negotiation and after initial push back, they both settled into the routine and reality we were going to do this 4k kayak, 20k bike and 5k hike / run.
Training went well leading up to the day of and with anything that’s been planned, the day went off without a hitch. The boys completed the event in 2hrs and 48 minutes, and placed middle of the pack. The take aways from this lesson were two fold.

#1. Life isn’t all about ‘getting’. Both raised the $1000 entry fee needed to participate of this event. This process helped them understand what it was like to ask for something for someone other than themselves. Many times kids (by default) grow up to believe life is all about them... And more specifically, all about them getting something for doing something. Through the entire event we disproved this myth with great examples of others giving – from petrified racers getting out there to people giving back their prizes for the cause, it was the right environment.

#2. Each time we set the bar high for our kids – they meet the expectation. We see the exact same thing when we set the proverbial bar low. So many times through the day people kept telling them and us how great they were – can’t believe, holy smokes etc. At the end of the day Marshall asked me why people kept saying that... Why were they so amazed? He didn’t connect their age with the accomplishment because that ‘variable’ was not a factor over the entire time we prepared for it.

While their accomplishment was amazing by others standards, it was business as usual for two boys who have been empowered and supported to believe they can do anything with a plan and support. Now the qualifier is we don’t think our boys are the cat’s ass – that’s not the point. The point is it would be great to see other children (and adults for that matter) have confidence in themselves to know the same.

Set the bar high... people will aspire to clear it
Set the bar low... people will aspire to clear it.

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