Life Is Not Always Fair!

And there you have it, the greatest lesson we as civilized humans can learn!  No matter how hard you work, no matter how well you perform, you are not always given what’s due.  C’est La Vie! The sooner you learn this, the better off you’ll be.  For some school comes easy, and A’s are simple to come by.  For others, school is extremely difficult and C’s, despite long hours of studying, are common place.  Some of us are natural athletes, excelling in all arenas.   Some of us have trouble simply walking up stairs without falling.   Some of us are computer whizzes, some of us have trouble turning the blasted machines on.  Some people are calm and patient, others have short fuses and are hot tempered.  You get what I’m saying?  Some people have obvious talents, others are jacks of all trades or simply mediocre at many.

The world doesn’t care, it goes on regardless of your personal struggles, your gains, your losses.  In everything, there are winners and there are losers  and we must learn to be gracious in both.  Life on the road, on the kayak circuit, in our case, is proving to be the most freeing experience of our lives and the most educational.  We are having the best time of our life.     In the rivers we are pushing ourselves to levels we never thought possible.  I for one am growing exponentially and I know the kids and Dan are too.   We are not bringing our schoolwork, we are not hooked up to TV’s or the Internet, in fact, we couldn’t tell you what was going on in the world if our lives depended on it and we love it.  What we are learning is so much more valuable. We are living and breathing each other. We are living out a dream and in that dream there is the capacity to grow in so many wonderful ways as a family, as brother and sister, husband and wife, mother and child and father and child. This past weekend was one of the best we’ve had so far. It had all the aspects of the perfect movie. Triumph, defeat, struggle, success, fear, adrenaline … it was amazing! The most glaring lesson this past weekend was that strife makes or breaks a person, it can make you a quitter or it can make you even more determined.  What Dan and I saw is that difficulty, unfairness, complete and utter wrongs, makes our kids more determined and does not bring them down even one notch in the happiness quotient.

Grady faced strife this weekend in Buena Vista. We, of course being KelloggShow, have the entire competition on tape and he has reviewed it and reviewed it, being ever critical, as he often is, of himself.  He cannot find, nor can we, any failure on his part to not have secured 3rd place in the Junior Mens Competition, yet he was scored tying for last place.  It’s simply not possible, except when accounting for human error.   After the results were announced, Grady was shocked and Dan and I were fuming.  Dan was ready to take the place down, he stormed over and asked to see the score sheets.  He was prepared to go head to head, but alas the score sheet for Grady was missing.   This gave him time to chill out, it gave Grady time to review the entire competition,  he scored it every which way and the fact is he was robbed.  But, that’s life, nothing you can do about it.  How many times have we watched an NFL game where the refs completely blew a call resulting in a game changing play?  It happens every season, several times.  Those players could dwell on the unfairness, they could cry foul and become incapacitated by it but they choose to acknowledge that it’s part of the game and move on.   No-one is perfect, no-one is faultless, they do the best they can and sometimes mistakes are made … it’s not the norm, and everyone takes solace in that fact.

Such is life, right?   A very dear friend told me this is the nature of the game.  But it’s also the nature of life.  You gotta be ready to roll with the punches or you won’t be much of a paddler, much less a human being.  We vowed we wouldn’t become one of those soccer mom, overbearing kayaking parents. You know, the ones who are always critiquing their kids rides, forcing practice time and yelling at judges.   This has to remain fun, for everyone.   First I couldn’t begin to critique much more than a wet exit, second, I can’t get our kids out of the water and third, I want this to be fun, not a job, and certainly not something that puts any pressure on the kids.  We are doing the circuit because Grady wants to make the USA Freestyle Kayak Team, not because I want him to, or Dan wants him to.   He’s having the time of his life, and I wouldn’t ruin that for anything.

Sure, we are competitive, we all love winning, but we love the sport first and foremost.   For us, the focus is on living in the moment.  And in living you take the good and the bad and you make the choice to be happy or not.    That’s not to say you don’t go out harder the next time, that’s not to say you don’t learn not to paddle for 5 hours straight prior to your competition, that’s not to say you don’t learn from your mistakes … as a competitor and a participant in life you always don your game face and go out harder and stronger in all things.   But, being happy, choosing happiness, despite difficulty, despite hard times, that’s the pearl in the oyster.   We are the pilots of our own destinies, of our own lives and regardless of what any outcome may be,  the bottom line is that kayaking makes us ALL happy, very very happy.   There is honestly nothing like it, the adrenaline, fear and excitement … and to share in  it with our kids?  Blessed!   The fact that the kids can also compete and have a blast doing it is icing on the cake — it’s not the cake!   I’m off to attempt to put some pressure on Kady, who competed for the first time in Buena Vista … I want to attempt more than a face surf and swim today!!  ha ha ha

Romans 5:3-4 More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope.


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  1. says: Lily

    When life gives you lemons, make lemonade, right? I remind myself everyday to be happy. There is nothing worse than living a life of misery. Great words of wisdom, here kelloggshow! You guys are really amazing.

  2. says: Carole F

    Oh those soccer mom types, I want to gag. They push their 4 year olds as hard as they push their teens. Where’s the fun in the sport if mommy and daddy are always hanging over your head hollering something. It borders on abuse, in my opinion. I also love your comment that you choose to be happy, so very very true. Life is difficult and so very unfair and again, you’re right, the sooner you learn that, the better off you’ll be.

  3. says: Mike Hyde

    Bummer for Grady, how odd the scoresheet was missing. One thing I have learned about this freestyle circuit (and Henry has learned too), is that it is sometimes a butt-kissing contest and the judging is very subjective and very questionable at times. I am not going to call anyone out here, but they know who they are.

    I sincerely wish there was absolute perfection in the officiating. But this is a case where Slalom and Wildwater at least have higher standards than freestyle.

    I am very surprised Grady would be tied for last place. Short of him having a fever, being delirious, drunk, etc. I just do not see that happening. He’s a much better boater than that.

  4. says: Meesha

    It was the most bogus thing ever, Grady was on mark, he landed everything on top of the pile, I was more pissed than all of you, but Grady handled it like the competitor he is.

    1. says: Paraic

      You’ve got to be kidding me-it’s so transapretnly clear now! All kidding aside, this is something I wish more youngsters knew and understood. Everyone is so worried about making everything fair, they are ruining our once great country.

  5. says: Suo e

    The way you are raising your children is uplifting. You don’t learn much about life in school, and it’s apparent that your family learns as you go, relishing each and every moment. Power to you all, you need your own television show!

  6. says: Patty

    LIfe isn’t fair and kids need to realize this. When they get upset after hearing this you can point out the kid in their classroom in a wheelchair, the mouse that get eaten by the snake in biology class. Parents should make an effort to make things fair amongst siblings, but that doesn’t mean giving half someone’s winnings to their sister or not allowing more than 3 friends per kid because one has difficulty making friends. The idea that life should be fair is what is killing this country. Everyone is under the impression they should all have what the other person has. Hey, I want an RV like yours, in fact, I want a life like yours, I can’t achieve that because I’m 56 years old and can’t have more children and none of them kayak or snowboard, does that mean you should be prevented from living your life the way you choose? Absurd to even consider. You both are incredible parents and I admire the way you let them grow and don’t stifle their learning process in an attempt to keep them from pain and sorrow. By experiencing all these emotions, your children will grow to be resoundly happy and inherently understanding individuals.

  7. says: Leslie

    Life is full of uncertainty, best be prepared. Its a tough lesson but one in which will carry you through life.

  8. says: Evelyn

    So true! Great post, though I don’t see how Grady could ever come in last, he’s much more of a competitor than that. But, hey you roll with the punches! Best of luck to you all in the next competition.

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  10. says: Chris

    A better title would be Life is Rarely Fair. I appreciate the way in which you are raising your children, it’s nice to see a family with a focus on what’s important. You need a show, maybe then our country would have a chance!

  11. says: Diane

    Life typically sucks and everyone should learn this young, unless they live with you all, then in that case, who cares if you win or lose, you’re always having fun!

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