Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Summer Vacation

This past August I took my family up to the Alexandria Bay area for a little vacation. We stayed about 15 minutes inland in a newer cabin on a small lake. It was quite private.

We caught fish.

We visited Boldt Castle on the St. Lawrence River in Alex Bay. Quite a place.

We even saw and heard the loons that live on the lake. I caught one on film making its call for almost a minute. Click to hear the audio. Quite beautiful.
A few hundred yards from the cabin was a rock formation that hung over the water about 16 feet high. The water below is said to be about 40 feet deep. Standing up there the first evening we arrived, we made plans to do some cliff diving the next day.
Morning came...late morning that is. I put on my bathing and headed out with Andrew. Now that is was time, as I stood up there it seemed a bit more intimidating. My son watched on as I was working up my nerve to jump. Finally after about 15 minutes of questioning why anyone would jump off a perfectly good rock, with a shout and splash I made the plunge.

Seconds after I hit the water I looked up to see Andy had left and was running back to the cabin to put his bathing suit on. This spoke to me about the influence we have on our children. He went from, “I’ll do it later,” to sprinting to the cabin to suit up just because he saw me do it while shouting, “I’ll be right back!”

When he returned I had already climbed back to the top and was drying off in the sun. Now it was his turn. He pretty much had to go through the same process I did. Lots of posturing to jump, rocking back and forth, countdowns from 10, the whole deal.

I took the opportunity as a teaching moment. Andy wants to be a Marine when he finishes high school. I talked to him about all the difficult things he’ll have to force himself to do in training and his time in service. I explained to him the difference between making an emotional decision versus choosing to do what you know is right, (not that jumping off cliffs is always the right thing to do but he got the point).

He was ready, as long as I went first. My concern was that I’d jump, and find that he still didn’t. So I told him, “when you see me leave the rock, don’t think about it, don’t wait for your feelings to say ‘I’m ready,’ just do it because you already decided to do it.” I explained that when I jumped, the feelings never came to say it was a good idea. I jumped because I decided to.
Finally I made the leap. As I surfaced, I looked up to see if he did it. He wasn’t there but a few feet away from me was a 3 foot diameter circle of white bubbles. Hoorah!