Saturday, August 13, 2011

Making Shackleton's My Way

The Warden is reading a book called Shackleton's Way.  It's about a sea captain and his crew as they go on an expedition to Antarctica and get stuck in the ice there for two years.  He saved all 27 of his men; not one died.  

The Warden read a bit out loud today.  I'm not sure if he read this particular part on purpose.  I came home tired and grumpy this evening.  I like to think that he just started where he'd left off, but what he read was EXACTLY what I needed to hear.

Here you go starting on page 173:

"Shackleton knew he had at least two negative people on board and perhaps expected that this demanding voyage would take the greatest toll on them.  He didn't direct any special warnings toward them, though, so as not to undermine the unity of the whole.  Instead, he laid down ground rules that everyone would have to follow.  It was typical of Shackleton not to point to the weaknesses of any single man.  'Whenever he noticed that a man seemed extra cold and shivered, he would immediately order another hot drink to be served to all.  He never let the man know it was on his account, lest he became nervous about himself, and while we all participated it was the coldest, naturally, who got the greatest advantage,' Worsley explained.

"The first rule of the Caird was that there would be no swearing.  Everyone had to be positive.....

"Shackleton, as always, established as much order and routine as possible, making sure each man knew what was expected of him....He was careful who he had working together....

"Meals were regular.....the men needed hot food for strength and comfort....'The glow of warmth and comfort produced by the food and drink made optimists of us all.'"

It also tells of one man who sings.  Not well, but he sings nonetheless as they try to keep their spirits up.

I appreciated these lessons.  These are all things I can work on as a mom.  I know I don't want to be one of the negative ones around here.  I need to be more positive and not point out the weaknesses in my kids.  My job is to encourage and help them through the rough spots.  We don't swear around here, but there are unkind words said from time to time.  Order and routine are a continual goal around here.  Some of the "crew" here fight against routine, and to be honest, some days it's me.  I also need to do better on getting meals made and out to my kids at a regular time.  Many days lately, dinner is an afterthought.  Music is something that makes me happy.  When I'm feeling down, if I can just get a catchy tune going around here, life is that much better.

For me, I can relate to what little I know from Shackleton.  His goal was that not one of his crew of 27 die.  I have the same goal.  Not just that they not die, but that they thrive and do well in their environment.  It's my goal to increase the richness of their surroundings.

While in Japan, on our last day, as we wandered around Tokyo, #1 and I passed a woman on her bike.  She was singing.  As we watched her pass, we understood why--she had a baby in the seat on the back.  She was singing for him; she didn't care who was watching.  Her mind was only on what made him happy.  My mind was taken back to the wonderful examples the Japanese mothers were to me twenty years ago--the time they took educating their children from a very young age.  The mothers I knew there were exemplary.

Taking Shackleton's example and those shown by so many Japanese mothers, I have my work cut out for me.  It's time to improve my own way.


Alyson said...

Excellent post, much self-examination to do now. Glad you're back!

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