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Old 12-07-2005   #1
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 10
Never give up

I teach kayaking to 20 teenegers for the Ponderosa High School paddle club. When we are in the pool I tell the students "never give up", like a drill sergent, over and over. Sunday while at the pool I told one 14 year old to "never give up or you you will die". The kids Mother was there and was very upset because I told her kid that she might die.

Do you guys think that I was out of line?


i am old and grey but i have more fun in one weekend than most people have in a lifetime
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Old 12-07-2005   #2
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The Ranch, Colorado
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Well, yeah, sort of.
A little dramatic for what I'm assuming is an "intro" class, eh?
Dying is highly unlikely in the beginner category of Class 2s, particularly in a pool setting
But you can write it off as being melodramatic about emphasizing never giving up, because really, where does giving up get you in any aspect of life (except with women, when it gets you peace and serenity, but that's a personal story I shouldn't go into here...)?

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Old 12-07-2005   #3
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People are just way too sensitive these days... Maybe someone should tell her the chances of dying in a car accident. I think it's fine to tell people what can happen.
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Old 12-07-2005   #4
Join Date: Jun 2005
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Do you really think they are going to die if they dont roll up in the pool? I mean cmon, thats a little heavy for a beginner in a pool. Save the death threats for the class V+ runs.

Never give up is also a little heavy dont ya think? While that MIGHT be true for an expert in a class V+, it has little bearing on a beginner in a pool. "Keep trying" might be a better phrase, or "I know you can do it!". Your not a drill seargent so stop acting like one.

Gaining the students respect and admiration will go a lot farther than bullying them about. You would hate to think someone who wanted to kayak didnt because you were such an ass at the pool. Let them have fun with it!

Later on IF they keep kayaking they can think about the dying part of it and the must make rolls. But we all know teenagers, kayaking one week, some other sport the next. You want them to get a good impression of how FUN kayaking is, not how they can die doing it.

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Old 12-07-2005   #5
Join Date: Oct 2005
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Ha, she probably wouldn't be upset if you could deliver the line like Commander Peter Quincy Taggart...

Never give up. Never surrender.
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Old 12-07-2005   #6
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Wheat Ridge, Colorado
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I'm with PhilBob and Helio on this one - it seems a bit harsh for introducing kids to the sport in a pool. They should have become aware that fatalities can occur when they signed the paperwork to take the class. Before you take them to the river seems to be the time to discuss the significant safety issues, potential (and improbability of) fatality, rescue, etc.

Even if they enjoy the sport, they may never want to boat more than Class II. They also may not appreciate the drill-sergent mode - originally developed for people who couldn't get up and leave.


Nothing in the world is more yielding and gentle than water. Yet it has no equal for conquering the resistant and tough. The flexible can overcome the unbending; the soft can overcome the hard. - Lao Tse
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Old 12-07-2005   #7
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Personally, I have no problems with what you said (though it does seem just a little extreme). I mean, in this day and age, you have to sign a waiver acknowledging the possibility of death no matter what you do (skiing, kayaking and rafting with commercial outfits, venturing onto private land, etc., etc.). Also, I don't really give a damn about the parents' reactions; what matter's is the pupil's reaction. If that drove home whatever you were trying to explain, good job. If it didn't, it wasn't an effective teaching method. While I agree that we don't want to scare people away from the sport, I should point out that the risk factor is often what drives teens do what they do.

"The world would be a better place if everyone kayaked."-Brad Ludden (Valhalla)
"You only get one chance to run a drop blind."-DD
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Old 12-07-2005   #8
Front Range, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2005
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You have kids whose parents actually encourage them to kayak?? Usually, it's my mom telling *me* not to die out there, or flipping out because we're boating in December and she's convinced we're all going to get hypothermia and drown.... and I'm 27, BTW!

That being said, though, PhilBob does have a point, especially when it comes to 14 y.o. girls. That's a very delicate time in a young girl's life, and at that age, either you're incredibly insecure, or 100% gung-ho/ rebellious/ hellbent on proving "something" (it may work similarly for young men, but I'm with Helio, above-- I don't claim to understand fellas my own age, much less, guys who're alot younger with alot more hormones and emotions flowing). To a 14 y.o., what's far more important than anything else is having someone around who accepts and is cool with you, who's encouraging, who reassures you and builds you up.... rather than having one more adult or peer telling you what to do or how you're doing it all wrong (think parents, teachers, coaches, media, etc).

I think it's just a delicate balance, and maybe you need to assess each student before dropping the "death threat" on them.... if she's a tough girl, it's like COUNT said, it may just be enough to provide that additional incentive?? If she's like most 14 yr old girls, though, she's so busy worrying about making sure her ass isn't too fat, that she has the right brand of jeans, who she's meeting at the mall after getting out of the pool, and if that cute boy in algebra is really going to call by the end of the week, that the whole "death card" could just end up adding another MAJOR stressor to her already hectic and complicated life??

Just my $.02.....
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Old 12-07-2005   #9
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Old 12-07-2005   #10
Join Date: Jan 2005
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Bad form there....

Teaching is about encouraging, think about how you would like to be taught....

Someone hounding you about what you did wrong OR someone telling you what you are doing right.

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