While hiking on a trail in Hawaii a few years ago, my daughter and I came to a stream that we had to cross. It was about eight inches deep and dotted with rocks, some round, some pointed, many submerged. It was precarious to cross the stream. There was no clear route. When my daughter started to suggest a course for me, I gently told her that I wanted to figure it out myself. I wanted to feel my way across.
Examining the rocks didn’t reveal a clear path. It seemed that any route would land me in the water. Rather than looking at each rock as a potential obstacle, I gazed at the end point on the other side and took off. Step, hop, leap, wobble, and I made it dry and intact.
Relieved to not have to hike with soaking sneakers, I sat down on a boulder. As I watched other hikers navigate the crossing, I began to see this as a metaphor for varying approaches to life’s challenges. A group of teenagers arrived at the bank of the stream. One girl figured that she was not going to allow the worst case scenario (falling into the water) scare her. She waded into the water and, with drenched shoes, she offered a helping hand to her friends as they crossed.
Then came a family. The two adolescent kids playfully hopped from rock to rock laughing and chatting. Next came Mom. She took a minute to evaluate and then calmly and quietly made it to the other side. Then Dad. He paced back and forth, measuring each and every possibility. He bent down and squinted from ground level gathering information to plot his route. The children were impatiently coaxing him to go, but he continued pacing along the bank. After about ten minutes, he ventured out with cameras dangling and made it without falling in.
Different styles, different ways to get to the other side.
How do you cross a stream?