The summer of my ninth year, I spent several weeks assembling a wooden log raft. I had this wonderful idea that I would lazily drift down the Ohio River. I dragged old logs of different lengths and sizes down the shore along our property, and roped them together. Early one morning I pushed the raft out into the water and scrambled up on it. Though a bit tippy, I shouted for joy as the current started moving me downstream. Huck Finn had nothing on my raft!
About 100 meters downstream my joy evaporated in the July heat. The logs were no longer on the top of the water, but began to sink. And tip. Fifty meters further, my wonderful raft was sitting on the muddy bottom and I was up to my waist in water. I tried to drag the raft out but couldn’t. (That raft is probably still be there today, buried in mud.) I can remember crying a little bit as I waded to shore and hoping no one had witnessed my inglorious “fade to mud”.
In retrospect God did me a huge favor. I didn’t have a paddle, or any way to steer the raft, so if I had been further out in the current I’m not sure I could have gotten the raft back to shore. I didn’t have any water or food. (In 1971, even 9 year old boys did NOT drink water directly from this river.) I really didn’t know what was beyond the bend of the river, and certainly didn’t have any way to avoid the barges and other boats in the river. I had no way to signal anyone.
It was an early lesson in thinking out the next couple of moves.
Nine year old boys are going to get more forgiveness than you will as a leader in your organization. One of your primary responsibilities is thinking about the future!
I ponder this story occasionally when I’m caught in a tough situation that I should have anticipated. We MUST carve out thinking time in our schedules. The more pressure you’re under, the more important it is to think about the future and anticipate possible scenarios.
Mantra: What do I do *after* the raft is on the water?
Happy rafting in your adventure!