My son got off the airplane from 8 weeks a camp this afternoon wearing mirrored sunglasses, a serious tan and about 4 more inches of height than when he left. Although he is still young (13 this week) I realized very clearly that if there was any “little boy” in him when he left, it had been squeezed out by hormones and experience. He regaled us with tales of an 8 day backpack and canoe adventure at the Mississippi headwaters, a four day horse trip through the Minnesota countryside and various other camp activities with his cabin-mates.
Although he did not talk about it as “leadership development” or even life lessons he learned a lot that will serve him well if he remembers it. And although this is not insight from behavioral research, the latest developmental theory or a Harvard Business Review article, I thought I would share some of his observations here as a mid-week refresher in basic leadership.
- “You can get about anything done if everyone pitches in. You can get it done faster if everyone agrees how to do it before you begin- and if you are willing to change your mind after you start.”
- “No one is listening when everyone is talking – OR SHOUTING.”
- “Some things you cannot beat (in this case mosquitoes and horseflies). There are too many and they never get tired of annoying you. The best you can do is realize that is how it is and get through it.”
- “You do not know what you can do until you try. But you really know what you can do when you do it so much you cannot do it anymore.”
- “A group agreement is best, but you can’t always get one. Sometimes, someone has to be in charge and make a choice- but it is better if the person in charge listens first.”
- “Not everyone will be everyone’s best friend; but, things work better if everyone can at least get along.”
- “Everyone makes mistakes. You will feel stupid about blaming someone else for one when you make one yourself- and you are always going to make one. Just figure out how to get around it.”
- “The world changes when it is quiet (except for birds and bugs) and you can stare at a billion stars and not have to name constellations.”
Pretty good for 13. I hope he remembers it when he is 23.