Tuesday, January 29, 2013

A Parent’s Nightmare: Lessons from an 11 year old’s bike accident – Part 2

My 12-year old son got in a bike accident last month. My last blog entry addressed all the people we didn't know in our neighborhood who came out to help. In this second part, I'd like to look at some more lessons we learned.

How did it happen? I have spent the last month answering the question as to how my 12-year old son got in a nasty bike accident. We were under a dense fog advisory and he rides his bike to the bus stop. He had made that ride hundreds of times, but that day something was different. The morning sun was just starting to come up and it was still pretty dark. He was riding his bike, and he looked away for a quick second. When he looked back, a blue/gray car parked on the street was directly in front of him. He tried to swerve to the left and took out the car's back left brake light with his hand and hit the ground. When he looked at his hand, he started screaming because at impact it was blown wide open and blood was spraying everywhere.

We look away for many reasons – we're comfortable, confident, overwhelmed, or even clueless. Whatever reason it is, we underestimate the cost and overestimate our ability to recover when we lose focus. My son thought that a quick look away would cost him nothing, but he was wrong. Every decision counts and every moment matters.

We've all "crashed" for similar reasons. How many times have we lost focus at a time that didn't appear to be critical and paid a significant price? Being focused isn't necessarily exciting as it demands discipline. Keep your eyes on road. If we're too focused, won't we burn out? Not necessarily. We need to find techniques to recharge our batteries in ways that don't require us to make monumental sacrifices in focus. I live on a pond. Sometimes I just need 30 minutes to walk out and fish in order to let my thoughts settle. When you find meaningful ways to recharge, you won't sacrifice focus, instead you'll enhance it.

I encourage you to look back at some of your failures, and then look at where you are today. How close are you to losing your focus? Start working to find ways to sustain, recharge and "focus on the road".