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Lessons from a Canoe Trip: Part 1

When each of our three boys turned 13 I took them on a one on one adventure.  It was my way to create an experience that facilitates a discussion about the significance and meaning of them becoming men.

At the end of this past summer our youngest child Jonathan, who turned 13 this year, and I took a 4 day canoe and camping trip down the Manistee River.  We started near the head waters just west of Grayling, MI and finished northeast of Lake City, MI. We had an incredible time. The river was beautiful, Jonathan caught some trout, we had some great discussions and some exciting adventure along the way.

The vast majority of our canoeing experience has been on lakes not rivers which created some of the adventure we had and taught us many lessons.  As we talked about these lessons each evening we began to see how they also applied to our lives in general. So we thought we would share some of our “canoe” lessons with you.

1. Do all you can to avoid obstacles that are in your path (like fallen logs).

2. If you can’t avoid obstacles (and we learned you can’t always avoid them) then you need to hit them straight-on.

3. By all means do not hit obstacles side ways because you might sink (which we nearly did).

4. Fast water is fun but you have to be 100% focused otherwise it will send you into trouble.

5. If you want to catch fish you must have your line in the water.

6. The more you do something the better you get at it even if you learn by trial and error (we floated 96 miles on our trip).

To be continued…

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