Wisdom Day 2 September 2016: Life Patrol

Jocko Podcast 38 is a great primer on how to get from A to B, at least it is for me. When Jocko began talking about going out on patrol with his two older children, memories came flooding back of land navigation times with my two sons. We called it hiking and camping. I like Jocko’s vocabulary better. It sets the whole outing in an operational context. And that is great for kids, I think. It lends a greter sense of uniqueness and purpose to the outing.

As I think back on my outings with my boys, I think of dead reckoning vs. contouring. I think of how we learned in our minds and bodies the real challenges of getting where we wanted to go and the true joy of achievement when we got there on our own two legs. Our own two legs?

What if lots more kids in our country could know the joy of getting somewhere tough on their own two legs? What if they could learn, like my sons and me, in their own minds and their own bodies the difference between dead reckoning and contouring? How beautiful and dangerous nature can be? The science of a good compass and true north? All the marvelous information in a U.S. Geological Survey topographical map? Magnetic declination? Night navigation when the stars are out? The constellations? How the Pleiades lead Orion across the night sky and arrive at the western horizon near day break in summer in our northern hemisphere just before full dawn chases all the stars away?

Of course, I was not out on patrol with Jocko and his kids. But I am sure they learned even more than I surmise. Not just the profound science of how to get where you want to go. Also things about themselves, their dad, sibling interactions under stress, the joy of reaching a tough goal when you’re out in nature, something never known when sitting at home. The strong but invisible link between lessons learned on nature’s trails and the wisdom needed to traverse the trails of life. Some pretty fine gifts from a father to his children:

So now you can pick out what’s true and fair,
    find all the good trails!
Lady Wisdom will be your close friend,
    and Brother Knowledge your pleasant companion.
Good Sense will scout ahead for danger,
    Insight will keep an eye out for you.
They’ll keep you from making wrong turns,
    or following the bad directions
Of those who are lost themselves
    and can’t tell a trail from a tumbleweed,
These losers who make a game of evil
    and throw parties to celebrate perversity,
Traveling paths that go nowhere,
    wandering in a maze of detours and dead ends.(The Book of Proverbs, Chapter 2, Verses 10-14, The Message,

Further reading on life navigation: