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Generalizing How We Overcome Obstacles #edchat #lifeskills #parents #business #Push #ASD #specialneeds


  1. Knowing how to overcome obstacles/challenges on a consistent basis is a life skill metric that is indispensable.
  2. Knowing how to keep your calm when it seems disaster strikes is paramount.
  3. Teaching to overcome obstacles and challenges in an effective manner and on a consistent basis is of great value.

Recently, I was piloting a laser sailboat with a young child off the shore of Marthas Vineyard. We were moving like the wind. Tacking and jiving. Pleasure to sail with Mr. Happy Face. We sailed for a while within a half mile radius amongst moored boats in the bay.  All was going well.  In fact, my student told me that we should take it up a notch and move even faster. This is just what an executive function skills coach and teacher wants. Mr. Happy Face’s engagement and motivation level all on with the task at hand. 

At some point, the hull slipped partially out during a jive and the boat capsized sending us into the water. 

We uprighted the laser in no time. Anybody who knows how to sail these knows that these boats easily capsize and upturning them is a standard part of the sailing experience. These are learning experiences on how to deal with failure in a concrete way.


sailing through the air
from his life jacket floating perch
he happily barked drill sailing sequence
it was just a matter of fact
his teacher standing on the hull
both laughing wide
with adventure


My young sailor was a calm little seal in the water telling me how to upturn the boat as I did it. We were working together in harmony, following established sailing sequence protocol for this sort of situation. Capsizing the boat is a part of the process. We methodically take care of the issue with no qualms about it. 

Failure is not failure then if you keep upturning your boat. Managing a moving sailboat effectively means the sailors adhere to constant metric demands, in order to maintain all as is, such as boat speed, direction, tilt, tightening & loosening of the sail, or even weight balance on the craft. From an executive function skills coaching perspective, I can identify at least thirty EF skills that are worked on, plus dual-hemispheric collaboration making sailing an exceptional brain balancing lifetime activity. 


To put a cherry on top, the best of all, is that sailing is a constant learning experience that can be fun and a great time for reflection or bonding with your child or someone else. 

How the mind views an activity once it is deemed fun reorganizes our outlook on it. We become fully-engaged, present, in-the-moment, mindful, time is felt differently, and experiences are felt more vividly when we are having fun. 

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