Sometimes We’ve Just Got to Learn the Hard Way

by Marcus Sheridan

LarsenIt’s the weekend, and as such, I’d like to take a break today from ‘biz’ stuff and relate a little experience I had the other day with my daughter, Larsen, who is 3 years old.

You see, I’ve got four kids. They’re all unique—special in their own way. Larsen, though, is the most ‘determined’ of my children. And when I say ‘determined’, I’m actually thinking ‘stubborn’ but ‘determined’ sounds much better. ;-)

A Trip to the River

A few days ago, Nikki, the kids, and I jumped in the minivan and took a short drive to our family home on the Potomac River so as to visit my father and his wife, who had stopped in for a few days. On our way to the ‘cottage’ (as we call it), Larsen spoke excitedly about ‘putting on her bathing suit and playing in the water.’

Enjoying her visions of sandcastles, my wife and I had to sadly inform Larsen that because it’s winter time (about 39 degrees that day) it would simply be too cold to play on the beach.

Upon arrival, just to make sure Larsen understood what I had tried to explain to her in the van, I took her outside and walked to the end of our dock. Within 60 seconds, she told me how cold she was and that she wanted to go inside.

Case closed….or so I thought.

Time for the Beach

About an hour or so later Larsen went up to her mother and told her she was now ready to put on her bathing suit and play on the beach. Having a mother’s wisdom and understanding just how ‘determined’ her daughter is, Nikki smiled and told her to put on the bathing suit.

Larsen immediately began jumping up and down and proceeded to proclaim to anyone who was within shouting distance that she was putting on her bathing suit and headed to the beach.

Within 60 seconds of receiving her mother’s permission, Larsen had bolted out the door (in full bathing suit gear) and frolicked joyfully straight towards the river.

Nikki gave me one of those ‘looks’ that only mothers can and I hurriedly followed after her, grabbing my blackberry on the way so as to possibly take a quick photo of her reaction to the freezing water.

Just thinking back to this little experience as I write brings a smile to my face. As soon as Larsen hit the water, she froze, almost as if she suddenly understood what her parents had tried (and failed) to help her understand in the van on the way over—It was cold, really cold.

After standing still in the water for about 3 seconds (as shown in the photo) Larsen did a 180 and bolted back to the house, just as fast as she had exited it only 60 seconds before.

To no one’s surprise, Larsen didn’t discuss going out to the beach the remainder of the evening.

Life’s Lessons

I mention this little story because I think there is a little bit of Larsen in all of us. And to tell you the truth, that’s a good thing. Sometimes, no matter how many people are there to guide us and give us proper direction, the only way we are going to learn life’s greatest lessons is through experience. Sometimes we’ll fail, sometimes we’ll succeed, but as the famous quote by Emmerson goes:

Life is a journey, not a destination…

Have a great weekend everyone.

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