The Tillicum Crushers – the 9-and-10-year-olds all from Tillicum Elementary School’s third-and-fourth-grades – will have brand new uniforms this season with a big, bold letter ‘C’ on the cap.
Far more than the name of the team is what the letter signifies illustrated by the day many, many years ago that my then-little-daughter and I went sailing.
She had to choose. One foot was on the dock, the other on the gunnel of our little sailboat pram that was departing in the gentle breeze.
As the gap steadily widened I shouted from where I manned the tiller, “Jump! Now!”
With terror etched in her young face, our daughter leapt and landed in an awkward heap next to the mast to which she then clung as if alligators awaited in the dark lake waters below.
Of course there were no creatures lurking, and no winds blowing, at least not for the moment. We drifted along dozing in the warm sun until this time it was her turn to shout: “Dad!” We had passed the lee of the island where the wind changed from breeze to blow and with little warning the tiny sail strained and struggled to pull free from its tethered cleat; water poured into the cockpit as the tipping point drew near; and she instinctively began bailing with her shoes.
I grinned, tipped my head back, shouting to the wind – “WAHOO! We’re s-a-i-l-i-n-g!”
Now, over 30 years later, we both recall this adventure with amusement. The day of decision. A choice to be made. A crisis which, to conquer, required commitment.
I’d like to think she left the tested stability of the dock to depart for the uncertain and unknown because of my trusted leadership as her dad. However, in hindsight, I think it was just gravity.
Speaking of leadership though, one of the “Nine leadership books to watch for in 2016,” according to Jena McGregor writing in the December 28, 2015 edition of “The Washington Post,” is entitled “Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance” by Angela Duckworth.
Duckworth, as it turns out in her work with children, is “a professor and researcher at the University of Pennsylvania, where she studies self-control and grit to determine how they might predict both academic and professional success. She seeks to determine how ‘grit’ is a better indicator of success than factors such as IQ or family income.”
Duckworth and friends have a website emblazoned rather simply with the big, bold letter ‘C’. It stands for character. Character is what their research team studies, believing character-building in kids is a far greater determiner of success in life than any other factor.
That’s the ‘C’ for which the Tillicum Crushers play: character.