Finn (7) learned to row the dinghy. I gave him some pointers to begin with (which he actually listened to, and absorbed), and then I let him have a go on his own, tied to the mother ship, and then finally, let him loose. He did very well.
I think it's important that children learn to take responsibility, and to know we trust them with it. So, with about half an hour of experience under his belt, I let him take his 3 year old sister for a ride.
My wife was less certain. She had not long been back from a sailing course, where she saw a grown man have a break down, haplessly rowing a dinghy in circles, while being gently blown out to sea, and not really knowing what to do about it.
So the stakes were high - a semi competent 7 year old responsible for both his life, and his sister's.
My wife was understandably worried about the children, and gave him lots of instructions, shouted more and more urgently. He panicked, and his fledgling rowing ability foundered. Like the man on her course, they looked doomed.
But then, after a moment's silence from instruction, he stopped panicking, and worked it out for himself. After a few strokes, his mojo returned, and he was rowing exactly where he wanted to go, confidently and competently.
Posted on 2013-07-15 09:36:49