I was watching a documentary the other evening about a stream clean up effort on the Raritan River in Pennsylvania, sponsored by Orvis. It was both uplifting and educational at the same time.
Take a look:
One of the facts I found interesting, and somewhat counterintuitive, was that a river actually flows faster and carries more sediment if it has frequent bends in it, and not just a straight channel. It seems that a straight channel tends to slow the river down, drop its sediment, thus filling up the channel and at the same time eroding the banks and widening the channel, further slowing the water. Before long the silt and sediment cover the bottom, deprive the aquatic insects of oxygen and vegetation, thus slowing killing the river of animal life.
The restoration of this particular part of the South Branch of the Raritan River involved building U-shaped weirs using boulders and piling silt from the bottom onto alternating opposite sides of the channel. A healthy river is born and can be more self-sustaining with these minor structural shifts.
I always look for life analogies in nature (comes naturally being a former Marine Biologist and Ecologist) and the fact that a bending river is healthier and can carry more sediment got me thinking about my daughter, Stephanie and helping her plan her life ahead.
While I probably have zero power to design a career path, my stories and analogies seem to have an influence, maybe not right away but, like little time bombs of wisdom, they eventually go off and provide value.
Seems to me there are two basic types of career paths – the focused straight and direct towards the goal (say becoming a doctor or a lawyer), and the somewhat circuitous path, picking up experiences and insights from various opportunities, but always headed in the same general direction.
Stephanie is on the later pathway. Her dream is to become a classical music conductor and to be the youngest female conductor for the BBC Proms Gala season closing finale! Clear as a bell in her mind. But she is taking the winding path, picking up experiences along the way. Reading classical and modern literature, meeting famous conductors, leading the orchestra for West Side Story by the National Youth Music Theatre, playing in the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain, having a work experience at the Royal Opera House in London, competing for BBC Young Musician of the Year, going to the Wagner opera festival in Germany, listening to pop music, writing poetry, reading Moliere in French. Twisting and turning left and right, picking up knowledge and experience that will eventually blend together to form valuable insights for her future career in music.
Neither path is better than the other, just different ways of getting to your chosen career. The most important thing is to have a clear goal, a passion, and the courage to go after it. Great careers don’t just happen, but they do happen one day at a time.
Tight Lines . . .
John R Childress