Tree Surgeon

tree surgeonI had a summer job during college working with tree surgeons. This was a crew of three – Jim who climbed trees and cut them down, Bill who went to prospective clients, gave estimates, and lined up future jobs and me. My job was to pick up the logs and put them on the truck to then be hauled away.

On my first day of work, it exhausted me to pick up these logs and get them on the truck. I had to drag these heavy logs to the truck and then strain mightily to lift them onto the flatbed. As I was working, Bill, the fellow who lined up future jobs, came by and helped pick up logs. Only instead of dragging the logs to the truck and straining to lift them, he picked them up with one hand and threw them 20 or more feet into the truck. I was amazed at how strong he was.

As the summer came to an end, I put in my two weeks’ notice and they hired a new guy to take my place. During the entire time working I always struggled to get the logs on the truck. When this new hire started, I was suddenly able to pick up the logs and throw them 20 or more feet just like Bill did on my first day on the job.

What changed? What changed was that every day I worked, Jim would cut the logs a little longer and they were thus heavier. This meant that I always had to work hard to get the logs on the flatbed. When the new guy started, Jim went back to smaller, lighter logs and I could throw those into the truck with ease.

While not many will have a career as a tree surgeon helper, most of us are or will be parents. Consider using this gradual approach when teaching your children new skills.

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