Wednesday, January 17, 2007

snow saucer of death

Last night Tracy and I took the kids sledding. We laughed and had a great time. But it definitely started off a little shakey.

We went to this new monster sledding hill that just opened in a new park a few miles from our house. The first run we made was on a bit of a kiddie hill and Katie (9 years old) rode the snow saucer, while Seth (6) and I rode the more stable 2 seater sled.

We then asended to the top of the big hill and got ready to go. We hadn't seen anyone slide down the hill before us, so we had no idea how fast the ride might be. "But c'mon. How bad could it be?" Apparently we forgot all those episodes of "America's Funniest Home Videos"...

Without much thought we popped Seth on the little snow saucer and give him a push. Within a matter of .0085 seconds he had reached warp speed at Mach 2. Somehow, amazingly, he stayed upright until reaching the foot of the hill. But then came...the BUMP. At about 30 mph he lost it. From the top of the hill looking down, we see our 6 year old son in a death roll through the snow, ice and mud.

Immediately Kate and I hopped on the other sled and went down to get him. Seth was kind of wandering around looking for his hat (that had come off during the spectacular crash). The poor kid had a few tiny nicks and bruises on his head and a spot of blood beside his lip.

So I did what any compassionate father would do. I grabbed him by the shoulders and said, "Wasn't that awesome? You survived the greatest crash ever!" He wasn't so sure...until I told him, "If we had the video camera, I bet you could have won the best video on AFV!" That seemed to cheer him up a bit.

So on the next run I decided that I should be the one riding the "snow saucer of death". After reaching Mach Speed and hanging on for dear life myself, I couldn't believe that Seth did as well as he did.

I was so proud of my boy. He faced the mountain and survived. He crashed in a flurry of snow and walked away. He endured the most spectacular crash of the season...and went back up to get on the ride again. But not on the "saucer of death". From that point on the kids used the stable 2 person sled.

But how often in leadership do we set people up for spectacular crashes. We just plop them on the sled having no idea what lies at the bottom of the hill.

I should have gone first. I should have navigated the hill before him. I should have prepared him for the ride to come.

Make sure not to put your people on the "snow saucer of death". Set others up for success and not failure. But when they do crash. Give them encouragement and praise them for doing as well as they did.

See ya at the bottom of the hill!