Plowing on ahead or slowing down ...
I have seen alot of discussion lately on either forging ahead vs keeping pace with the slowest partner. I hear people struggling with moving too fast and in turn stall all progress. I also hear people struggling with moving too slow and wanting to plow ahead and let the other person catch up later.
When I hear about moving forward and waiting for others to catch up, I immediately think of an incident my husband and son ran into while on a backpacking trip.
A Boy Scout troop decided that a bunch of their first year scouts needed to go on a 20 mile hike. They started this hike after breakfast and had each boy pack a lunch, with the expectation that they would be done before dark and would eat once they got on the road home. By late afternoon, the group was still 4 miles from the end of the trail, it was getting cold and the sun was setting. The leader realized that he needed to get these boys off the trail fast, he told the other adults that he would take some of the boys and then return with flashlights. The slower boys and a few adults were to keep walking toward the end of the trail.
Well, the trail was unfamiliar and they thought they got lost, so they turned around. It was now about 8 or 9pm and full dark. The poor boys started to cry and scream out to see if anyone would hear them. My son and his troop were less than a mile away and they heard the boys crying and they went looking for them.
They found these boys out of water, out of food, no flashlights, no warm clothes and they were all in shorts. The tempature had droped into the high 50's. Our troop brought them back to their campsite, vacated a tent for them to sleep in and in the morning shared their breakfast with them (they were too tired to eat the night before). They then walked these boys and the adults to the end of the trail to saftey.
These boys should never have been on this hike in the first place. They were ill prepared, they did not have their 10 essentials (those in scouts know this is a big deal) and the hike was above their physical ability to complete in the time allowed. The leader forged ahead at a pace that the slower group, no matter how hard they pushed themselves, just couldn't keep up. In turn he put these boys in an extremely dangerous situation.
Standing still can be just as dangerous as leaving people behind, but is the goal appropriate for the situation? If the goal is changed, altered or scaled back, is the slowest person now capable/willing to move forward and make the effort?
I attempted to post this on the facebook site, but ran into some user originated technical difficulties, so I thought I would post it here also and add a few thoughts.