10 Life-Lessons from Noah’s Ark
The Biblical story of the great flood (see Genesis 6:1-9:17)
has been around for a long time. It has counterparts in many
other cultures. Each generation has learned much from the
story — and so can those of us in the coaching community!
Needless to say, “Always build on the highest ground possible”,
because character always counts!
are ten more:
1. Always plan ahead.
There wasn’t any rain in the forecast when Noah started building
2.Don’t listen to your critics.
Listen instead to your heart, and then do whatever has to be done.
The neighbors might have taunted when Noah was blocking
their driveway — but he had the last laugh as soon as the rain
3.Stay physically, mentally, spiritually and emotionally fit.
You never know but that when you’re 600 years old, someone
might come along out of the blue and ask you to do something
4.Don’t seek to go it alone.
Always travel, at least, in pairs, because two heads are
better than one.
5.Speed is not always an advantage.
The cheetahs were on board, but so were the snails; and
they all arrived safely on dry ground at the very same time.
6.Handle Conflict with certainty.
If you can’t fight or flee from adversity — at least make
certain you have an idea that can float in the battlefield
7.Don’t miss the boat!
Never forget this underlying truth: that ultimately when
all is said and done, we’re all in the same boat!
8. Be flexible in your thinking.
Remember that amateurs built the ark while professionals
built the Titanic and the Challenger Space Shuttle.
9. Remember that Fear is nothing more than
“False Evidence Appearing Real”.
The woodpeckers on the INSIDE are often a bigger threat to
your overall well being than the storms raging on the outside.
10. Remain faithful and optimistic.
No matter how bleak things look, if God is traveling with you,
there’s always going to be a rainbow of peace on the other
side of the storm.
*Life is all about ROWING*
My grandfather was a man who lived a rich life. A shipbuilder by trade,
he was one of 11 children born in rural Nova Scotia. Grandfather was a
quiet man, a deeply religious man and, perhaps most of all, a person of
significant character. Once when I was in high school, my grandfather
invited me to go on a rowing trip with him. He loved the sea and told me
that this particular evening promised a glorious sunset.
“Would you be interested in going on a rowing trip with me to visit a
tiny cove I’m sure you’ve not seen?” he inquired.
Looking outside, wiping the sweat from my teenaged forehead,
I suggested that 95 degrees was not the perfect time for a long rowing
trip and said another time would be better.
“Ah,” he said, “another time is for young men. Let’s do it now.”
With that clarity of perspective, off we went on what would turn out
to be a nonstop row of more than an hour. Given that he was in his
seventies and I a mere fifteen, the rowing naturally fell on my shoulders.
All during our trip to that cove, he was chiding me to go faster else we
miss the promised sunset.
“Chop, chop,” he piped up.
Sweating profusely, I diligently rowed until more than an hour had passed
and we turned a corner beyond a tiny point of land and into the promised
cove. Moments later, the sky burst into an orange-purple blaze.
My grandfather was right, the cove and the sunset were both breathtaking.
The scene is one I will never forget.
We were there, however, for no more than a couple of minutes when my
grandfather said, “Well, let’s head back now.”
Incredulous, I protested. “Granddad, you were right, it is beautiful here.
But look at me, I’m dying – let’s stay for a while.”
“No,” he said, “they’ll have made dinner for us and we’re already late.
We ought to think of others, not just ourselves. Besides, we’ve seen it
and this beautiful sunset will follow us home.”
Hands on the oars, I began the journey back. With each pull I renewed
my complaining: “It was nice, but not worth all that rowing…
This boat is too old and needs new oars… The current’s too strong today…
You’re the big shipbuilder – why don’t you take a turn rowing?”
On and on I went.
My grandfather merely sat quietly, enjoying the sunset.
Finally, after about thirty minutes he gazed at me and quietly said,
“John, put the oars down, would you?”
With the oars in the boat he stared me in the face: “I want to tell you
something today, something I very much hope you will remember.
John, most of life is rowing and if you don’t learn to be good at –
and enjoy – the rowing, you will grow up to be a very unhappy man.
Now put your hands on the wood and take me home.”
I would love to tell you that the scales fell from my eyes in that moment
and my life was lived differently from then until now.
But that would not be true.
At the time, those words seemed like the babblings of an old shipbuilder
about to make his last sail. But thirty years have passed and I know
now what he meant.
Life is mostly rowing.
There are, of course, moments of ecstasy, but most of life is made up of
A walk on the beach,
a glancing view of a beautiful cornfield out an airplane window,
the first time you see your child steal a base,
a conversation where you know your words helped a friend,
lying in a tent by a river with the few people you love most,
the good feeling at the end of a hard day at work when you
know your efforts were not in vain.
It is precisely our ability to be present and enjoy those moments that
makes life worth living. We can spend our entire lives trying to get
from one big sunset to the next and miss a whole lot of great living
Sure those great sunsets are wonderful, but they are the icing, not the cake.
And it is not the big things that determine our success in the many realms
of our life.
Marriages are not built on the big anniversary trip to Hawaii or the special
gift that marks a date. It is in the rowing that marriages are made and broken,
in the daily honoring of life together.
Parents do not raise children well because of the camping trip taken once
each year to provide “quality time.” Rather it is in the rowing moments,
simple exchanges that occur thousands of times over the years that our
children learn the lessons they will need to live a life uncommon.
Leaders do not earn their stripes at the annual meeting when they give
a rousing speech that inspires the masses, but in the daily way their rowing
inspires a sense of pride and respect among those whom they lead.
But how do we begin to get better at the rowing and to appreciate the
simpler pleasures it has to offer?
How do we reclaim the innocence, faith and wonder with which we were
graced when we came into the world?
It seems to me that it begins with realizing that life is not about where we
are going as much as it is about being where we are.
How much of our lives are lived with the future as our focus – saving for
retirement, waiting for the weekend, counting the days until vacation,
looking forward to graduation, the next promotion.
We seem destined to believe life will be better when we finally get there.
When we choose to believe that each moment, however simple, offers
as much to us as the great shining moment of ecstasy, we begin to
experience our lives in a different way.
What part of the rowing must you pay more attention to?
Are you enjoying the moments of your life fully or waiting
for some future sunset when life will be what you desire it to be?
By John Izzo, Ph.D.
Be thankful that you don’t already have everything you desire.
If you did, what would there be to look forward to?
Be thankful when you don’t know something,
for it gives you the opportunity to learn.
Be thankful for the difficult times.
During those times you grow.
Be thankful for your limitations,
because they give you opportunities for improvement.
Be thankful for each new challenge,
because it will build your strength and character.
Be thankful for your mistakes. They will teach you valuable lessons.
Be thankful when you’re tired and weary,
because it means you’ve made a difference.
It’s easy to be thankful for the good things.
A life of rich fulfillment comes to those who
are also thankful for the setbacks.
Gratitude can turn a negative into a positive.
Find a way to be thankful for your troubles,
and they can become your blessings.
There may be scars
But hope still for stars
For stars shineth on and on
So, you gotta keep on keeping on
No matter how life’s curve balls hits
Have faith in God and hope still sits
Hard times, troubled times, saddens the soul
Time is timeless, move forward, purge the old
Every cycle of life has a beginning and an end
Look for rainbows after a storm for its God-send
Walk through life at your own even pace
Adopt positive attitude, keep a smiling face
Signs are posted at every junction and all crossroads
Be alert, be aware and take heed the wisdom it unloads
At every juncture and every fork pray for discretion
To a God who giveth sagaciousness on every question
In all lives a little rain must fall before the sun shines
Defines character, perspectives change, horizon realigns
Accept challenges, overcome obstacles, create some goals
With much effort and tenacity, attainment fulfills our souls
Aboard the ship of life fear not of adverse stormy waves
Persevere and endure on for whom God loves God saves
Every star though minute from gaze could be a raging sun
Immerse clarity in your mind, blast on, life’s an awesome run
© Keziah Boey March 2006
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