My family and I enjoy visiting Jackson Hole for an annual family reunion. One of the activities we enjoy is rafting down the rapids of the Snake River. This year two of my sons and three of their cousins decided to go down the river in an inflatable kayak called a ducky. This ducky is built for two.
I guided an eight man raft down the river and my brother-in-law guided a larger raft with many of the younger children on it. We watched these five young men learn to work together as a team in order to stay on the boat. Two were paddling and the other three were helping to keep balanced. They fell off several times and had to get back on. They navigated small rapids and as we approached the two big rapids on the river – Big Kahuna and Lunch Counter – we pulled over as a group.
My boat went first through the Big Kahuna. We hit the rapid in a great place and had a bouncy and fun ride through it and once we were through we pulled over into an eddie (where the current goes back upstream after curling past a rock outcrop) to watch the other boats come through. The big boat was next and had a good run through the rapid. They soon joined us to watch the five guy ducky go through the rapid.
Each of them was nervous as they took their places in the ducky looking like a five man aquatic bobsled team. They moved out from the side of the river into the current and lined up for the rapid. The looks on their faces were part worry and part excitement. If one of them were to lean the wrong way, all of them would be in the water. They hit the rapid with two paddling and the others using arms and legs to maintain balance. All of the practice earlier in the river paid off and they went through the rapid without tipping. Their hands went up in the air in triumph and each had huge smiles on their faces. They had stayed on the boat.
Going through the river of life is better from the safety of a boat, even if the boat is small. There are risks and challenges but working together as a team, we can navigate the rapids of life. Whether your team is made up of your spouse, partner, family, organization or work team – working together to keep the boat upright and moving in the right direction allows us safety and gets us to our desired location. To do that, we have to stay in the boat and work together.
As we completed the 8.3 miles of the river, we pulled our boats out and the five boys who stayed on the boat and worked together as a team to do something hard say that the river run was the highlight of their week.
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