I read a wonderful book about Ernest Shackleton's Anarctic expedition in 1914 and marveled at the organization and forethought that went into its preparations. While the expedition itself was a disaster, I can't help but have Shackleton in mind as I prepare for my own expedition in 2011. Besides contending with the obvious problems of travel and nature, Shackleton also had to manage the various people and personalities involved. His skill in this area was particularly valuable when disaster struck and tempers were, shall we say, a little short. I imagine I will have to put my own skills to the test in the coming year, particularly involving my children.
Just today my daughter saw a new item on television. In her rambling 7-year-old way she told me the delights of some sort of stuffed animal that turned into a pillow that turned into a backpack that turned into a toy. Last year each child got me for a Pillow Pet, those cuddly little critters that unfold into pillows. My son loves his. My daughter occasionally rests on hers. After picking out a unicorn last year, she insisted she wanted another for Christmas, this time the Lady Bug. I insisted she didn't need it since she already had one and she barely used it. She was insistent; I stood my ground. Now she's coming up with a slightly fancier version of the same thing. And she was insistent. It will be fights like this that will no doubt become commonplace in the next year. Then again, it is precisely because of fights like this that I'm starting my journey. If I had a dollar for every item I've purchased for one of my children that they just couldn't live without only to have the item sit on the floor and mock me for months, well...I'd have a lotta dollars!