Saturday, July 28, 2012


I had a great dog once.  Skye knew that I was in charge and that she was my first officer.  Whenever we'd house sit or care for another dog, or often dogs, those dogs became instantly obedient.  I would call, Skye, their obvious leader, would come, and the rest of the pack would follow whatever instinct that bound them to her authority.  Any inappropriate behavior was dealt with almost instantly, although often I was completely unaware that a lesson was being accomplished.  I had complete control over my pack of dogs in the woods or in the home.

I find that same sort of authority builds with my rowing crews.  Station Maine has designated Watch Captains.  Their authority is not fabricated.  They are not chosen by popularity, but rather by skill and seamanship.  They lead, they teach, and they free me for larger more pressing tasks like actually teaching the first aid for hypothermia or buying the ferry tickets.  Their authority is not as much given as taken on.  Newer crew members follow because they want to be a part of a crew that sees itself, and rightly so, as well disciplined and well pasted together.

Given a genuine need for leadership, leadership really does rise to the top.  And old leaders graduate and new leaders rise up and train the newbies.  This is a natural progression.  All we need do as adults is provide the setting.

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