Basic, Must-Have Life Experiences – Part 1

As Cindy, the boys and I sat in a semi-circle of chairs the other night, on the deck viewing the sunset across Moosehead Lake, one of the boys mentioned how crazy it is that people they know haven’t had some of the most basic of life experiences.


Sunsetting over Moosehead Lake

As we continued the conversation, the following activities were brought up as things we’d consider unfortunate if we had NOT experienced them:

  • Swimming
  • Riding a bike
  • Fishing
  • Building a campfire
  • Shooting a gun

Looking at things a little differently, you might even say these inexperienced souls haven’t had the opportunity to convert a phenomenon (related to the laws of nature) to a life skill.

Phenomenon – a fact or situation that is observed to exist or happen, especially one whose cause or explanation is in question.

You see, anyone reading this has observed the above activities happen on TV, and/or being performed by someone they know. But, until one has personally experienced and mastered the above, the activity remains a mystery…

They ask (consciously or subconsciously) – How DO they do it?!?

Lest you think this topic is whimsical, let’s cover the value of each of these life experiences…


Several years ago we had invited neighbors (who have long since moved away) to join us for a swim in our pool.

The kids were in the water within seconds of arrival. The dad and I sat talking, in chairs under the umbrella, until I decided it was time to leap into the pool myself.

Upon inviting the dad to join me he said: No thanks. I can’t swim. I’ve found that I just don’t have the buoyancy of most people.

Man, did my mind spin with possible responses: none of which would have solidified our friendship 🙂

I let it go and enjoyed the cooling swim…

Let’s consider some facts that are realities for ALL humans:

  • About 71 percent of the Earth’s surface is covered in water. That being the case, it would seem to be useful (as well as fun) to be able to safely navigate it “by hand.”
  • The human body is more than 60 percent water (blood is 92 percent water; the brain and muscles are 75 percent water; and bones are about 22 percent water). Since we are all, as far as I can assume, human, then we ALL have the same buoyancy factor.

The ability to swim starts in the mind (belief).

It is so nice to know that our boys can jump off a cliff, into the crystal clear, deep waters of Moosehead Lake (or any body of water on the planet) and swim like a fish. They acquired these skills (of leaping off cliffs and swimming) long, long ago – from observing their father 🙂

I must confess…After the boys headed for home (because they had work the following day) I had a slight mishap. You see, upon diving into the lake from a rock (the big one in the center of the above picture), my big toe hung around with that rock a little longer than the rest of my body. When I hit the water I noticed an undesirable sensation – PAIN!!!

Cindy, the master of broken toes, quickly diagnosed that I have probably fractured mine. Oh well, all in good fun 🙂

Hopefully, this won’t prevent me from competing in our church’s annual Survivor event, taking place in 10 days.

Riding a Bike

I still remember my first experience learning to ride. After much encouragement, my dad launched me on my new bicycle that my grandfather had just purchased for me. I wobbled around a bit and crashed in the grass. We then gave it another shot and I was off. Still a little wobbly, but I was successfully propelling myself across the land.

I had NO IDEA “how” I was doing it. All I really had to think about was one thing: keep peddling and it just seems to work.

Upon learning this skill I had dramatically expanded my horizons with this new form of transportation that was now available to me!

This free mode of transport can be used to travel through the woods of Maine, on the streets of Copenhagen, Denmark (with 100’s of other biking commuters) or across the Golden Gate Bridge, in San Francisco, to beautiful Sausalito.

It is so much more rewarding to view these locations from the seat of a bicycle (up front and personal) vs. behind the closed windows of an air-conditioned vehicle. Not to mention the aerobic exercise it provides.

The ability to ride a bike starts in the mind (belief).

In the spirit of brevity, this concludes part 1 of the topic: Basic, Must-Have Life Experiences.

Get out there, and have some!

p.s. – It is raining this morning at Moosehead Lake. So, Cindy and I are taking a break from the sun as we sit undercover. Hopefully, we’ll see more deer from our vantage point. Last night we observed a sizable buck just feet from the deck, overlooking the lake. We could almost reach out and touch him! It was too dark to take a picture, so you’ll just have to believe me 🙂

2 thoughts on “Basic, Must-Have Life Experiences – Part 1

  1. […] The first 2 activities were covered in the prior post. […]

  2. Craig McQuate says:

    Great read and great reasons for learning to swim. Here is a stat that supports learning to swim. Drowning is the #1 cause of accidental death for ages 1-4, #2 for ages 5-9, #4 for ages 10-14 and #6 for ages 15-24. This, coupled with the fact that 70% of the earth is covered by water makes this a “must” life skill for me. Besides…it’s fun!

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