The Wind and the Sun

It’s so cold outside! Kate, the boys and I have just finished spending a bit of time at camp this week and loved every minute. To do something you don’t normally get to do i.e., sledding down Waterfront Hill, is a blast. But, man – it’s cold!

All of the winter gear – the warm boots, hats, gloves, and coats – made me think of one of Aesop’s Tales about the North Wind and the Sun. If you don’t know it, here’s the short version:

The North Wind and the Sun

The North Wind and the Sun decide to have a contest to see who is more powerful.

They spot a traveler walking with a coat on. The game? The first one to get the coat off the traveler wins. 

The North Wind starts off and sets to blowing. It pounds the traveler with everything – cold, gale force winds, and even a bit of rain. Nothing gets the coat off. Rather, the traveler keeps pulling the coat tighter and tighter for protection.  

After the North Wind has had its chance, the Sun steps up to the plate. Gently sending its warm rays down, the Sun begins to warm and dry the traveler.

Finally, the coat comes off as the traveler finds a shade tree to sit under and enjoy the warmth for a bit.  

Today’s Wind

Sometimes I think what the world wants for our young people is too much. There is a lot of … ‘stuff’… they have to deal with that was not a part of my world at their age.

There is more competition in everything. Comparison is through the roof. People lose the ability to remember who they are with the constant striving to be, well, something else.

I see these forces as the North Wind, pounding with all it’s might. We keep pulling our coat – the brave face, the over wrought work ethic, the effort empty of enjoyment – tighter to us for protection.

A Summer of Sun

At Weequahic, we get to be the Sun. Surrounding our campers with mentors whose focus is the camper – not their phone, not their friends, not their future selves – helps to bring our campers back to their true selves.

Yes, there is competition at camp – but only on the fields, courts, cooking or dance studios AND ONLY if the camper wants it. Yes, there is comparison – but only in choosing which canteen item would taste better right then and there.

By making things fun, by showing that welcoming, gentle smile, by listening and playing along… we get to be the Sun. And those gentle rays of summer sun allow our campers (and many of our staff) to shed what they carry to become who they really are.

Sun Year Round

Here’s the thing: you don’t have to wait to get to summer to feel this way. You just have to surround yourself with people who bring the Sun.

Want to know what’s even better? You can make the choice to be the Sun to those around you.

Sure, it’s easy to be that way towards your friends. You already like them and want them to do well, be well. Even when you are having a bad day, you can normally shake it off and be there for a buddy.

What about that difficult sibling, hard classmate, or, gulp… your parents? This is more of a challenge. And, it’s important. Is their happiness, desire for connection, or worth any less than yours?

Of course not. Your difficult little sibling, your teacher and that kid no one ever speaks to at school needs the Sun in their lives as much as you.

So, will you be the North Wind pounding down or warm Sun helping those around you open up? It’s your choice.

Have a great week!