Sunday, January 18, 2015

Being Adventurous

The Nikkei Shimbun Newspaper, which is analogous to the Wall Street Journal of Japan, published a book review today about the Japanese edition of “Rising Son: A Father and Son’s Bike Adventure Across Japan.” The Japanese title is “スコット親子日本を駆ける,” (Scott oyako nihon wo kakeru) which translates to “The Scott father and son pair zoom across Japan.” Not as catchy as “Rising Son,” but native speakers tell me the title actually works great. 

The Nikkei reporter interviewed Sho and me (with translation help from my wife Eiko) when we were in Tokyo last week. The piece included a quote about why I've cycled over 7,000 miles with my kids: “Children grow up so quickly. I wanted to give them the gift of my time.” Here’s a pic of the article:

The article ends with my hope to share the joy of being adventurous with many people. I did a lot of that this week! Immediately after returning from Japan over the weekend, I flew to Dallas, Texas to give a 3-hour workshop to a group of executives. Entitled “What Do You Want To Be When You Grow Up?” the workshop includes exercises to encourage adventurous thinking and promotes the value of “meaningful discomfort.” I then flew to Rochester, New York, where I gave the same workshop to a different set of executives. After another flight, I gave a 90-minute evening presentation to parents in the school district of Pleasantville, NY. We talked about various approaches to raising resilient kids, and I used anecdotes from my family cycling trips to make the point that “a kid can do a whole lot more than most adults think.” The conversation was stimulating, and I appreciated the willingness of so many parents to stay out late on a school night to analyze ways to raise children with grit.

The next day, I gave three 1-hour talks to hundreds of students in Pleasantville, ranging in age from Kindergarten through High School. I could not have had more fun! I told them the story of guiding 69-year-old triathlete Charlie Plaskon in the NYC Ironman Triathlon. Charlie’s quote, which I repeat in all my talks, is “No one is interested in your best excuse. Just find a way.” I also asked rhetorically whether a 6-year-old girl can pedal over the Rocky Mountains. Answer: Yep! My daughter did just that, riding on a trailer cycle attached to my bike. 

After each of my talks, students approached me to share their own adventurous goals. I loved their ideas and enthusiasm. It was stimulating to be around their positive energy. Special thanks to Sam Aidala for arranging the Pleasantville talks. Here are a few pics.

Sam Aidala (on left) and I

Sam getting the K-4 students settled before my talk

Talking to Pleasantville High School students. The slide reads, "A few years ago, I created a list of life goals. The list included this: Dream up adventures with my kids."

Playing a blindfold game with middle school students. The purpose was to illustrate how teachers are our guides. And it's important to pay attention, or you must just fall off the stage... I nearly did!

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