This is an excerpt from my book, Middle School Years Without Tears: Creating and Managing for Wonderful, Awesome, Successful, and Thrilling Middle School Experiences.
Dr. Wayne Dyer, a guru in the area of self-development, used a boat metaphor to share the freeing understanding of how to let go of the past. It goes something like this: You are the only one in a motor boat going somewhere. It’s your boat; not anyone else’s boat. It’s not your mother’s boat. It’s not your father’s boat. It’s not your sibling’s boat. It’s not your friend’s boat. It’s not the teacher’s boat. It’s your boat. The boat represents you and your life. The question is, “Where are you in your boat?”
Many people stand at the back of the boat looking at where the boat has been. They stare at the wake, the V shaped ripples the motor creates. They ponder what has happened. They ponder what would have happened if they had gone down a different stream, creek, or river. They sometimes feel regret for not having taken those paths and get stuck thinking about the choices they didn’t make.
When people are standing at the back of the boat looking at the wake and what has already happened, the question then to ask is, “Who is driving the boat?” Can a person be at the back of the boat and the front at the same time? No. The metaphor is to get people to move from the back to the front of the boat to drive their boats. Where do you want your life to go from here? Where does your middle schooler want to go from here?
I love this boat metaphor about life discussed by Dr. Wayne Dyer. One year in my classroom, I had a picture of a boat with a person on the back looking at the wake. I wrote on the poster, “Who is driving the boat? Stop looking at the past and drive your boat!” Get a picture of a boat or get a boat miniature and give it to your child as you share Dr. Dyer’s boat metaphor.What a wonderful gift to give your child. What a wonderful gift to give yourself.