Living Columns & Blogs

When you’re in over your head

From the day I suggested a snorkeling trip to my family a few years ago, I had been preparing them for an exciting and adventurous day in clear ocean waters. So this spring, we ventured on a 3-mile boat trip into the Atlantic Ocean, and with much anticipation, we finally jumped into the water. Then it happened — I simply forgot some basics of snorkeling and had to reboard the boat almost immediately. After a few moments of recovery, I was back in the water, a bit more ready for the rough waters.

On the return boat ride, I acknowledged to my family the errors I made on the initial dive, and for safety reasons, I needed to do something quick. It also made me realize how our children will face tough situations and what parents can do to prepare them. Below are some points for you to consider:


▪ Think about a time when you took on more than you could handle or something unexpected happened to you. How did you cope with the situation?

▪ Share that we have no control over most situations, but we can always control how we react during challenging times.

▪ Teach your children the value of planning for the “unplanned.”

▪ Encourage your children to reach beyond their grasp and not always play it safe. Although they may find themselves in over their heads at times, explain to them that it’s OK to ask for help. They can try again when they are more confident.   

The local fathering effort, in cooperation with the National Center for Fathering, provides monthly Action Ideas to stimulate conversation between fathers and parents. For more information, or to join local conversations, contact David Eggebeen at, Robert Orndorff at, Mick Trombley at, Chris Dufour at, Mark Oleynik at, Doug Loviscky at or Marc McCann at