Sailing needs wind but sometimes at Jamaica Pond, wind can disappear. So on days that we hop into sailboats and float around the pond, we instructors become creative in ways to entertain our kids on limited space. Water fights, music, sailing songs, tag, and I spy can only last for so long. So when we’ve burned out all ideas of entertainment, we need to fall back on what the pond gives us.
Dozens of seagulls fly around the pond every day and float in groups. They quickly all fly away when a sailboat inches it’s way towards their huddle.
But kids don’t always catch on that that’s why they fly away from us. So in a glassy, still pond, screaming “catch a seagull!” will receive loud excited squeals from kids as they jump around to find a lasso and make a colorful plan of how to catch their favorite seagull.
Yet as much as they try, as many different plans as they come up with, for some reason the seagull always flies up and away just as our boat quietly sneaks up behind it.
But it didn’t matter to the kids that they couldn’t succeed at this impossible task. It didn’t matter that every time they put all their energy into it, they just had to go right back to the start. Every day when we would finish practicing the lesson and the wind would play hide and seek with us, I could shout “let’s catch that seagull!” and my kids’ energy would shoot up and they would eagerly play this game like it was their first time.
This energy showed me perseverance. My kids taught me to not be afraid to keep going even when a task can’t be completed or seems to be impossible to do so. They taught me that even if I have to start something over and over again, I shouldn’t lose the energy I started with because if I keep going, perhaps the next time I can catch my seagull.