I’ve been a boat rocker since I was a wee one. I remember a picture that used to be around of me as a two- or three-year-old in a T-shirt that said “Here comes trouble.” (I wish I still had that T-shirt. ) In the 5th grade I got into an argument with Mr. Manz about women’s rights during one class. In 6th grade I casually mentioned at recess that I was going to play football in 7th grade. A certain male friend responded with “girls can’t play football.” So guess who played tight end in 7th grade and wide receiver in 8th grade?
Sometimes rocking the boat is a bad thing. Everything is smooth sailing, and here comes this person who is rocking and splashing for no good reason. I guess we call those folks drama queens or kings.
I think that many people don’t want to rock the boat for fear of having the appearance of being a drama queen/king. Or they fear making others angry. Or they think the situation will blow over soon…
But too often, the right thing goes unheeded for too long. We barrel through trying moments thinking that they will be short-lived, and if we can just make it through this last thing, then things will be good again. And the situation persists…
But what if more of us were boat rockers? What of more of us were able to confront the fear of asking for what is right even if others may not want to hear it? What if by asking, we could begin to change things for the better?
GAU is such an excellent example of this. We work with and confront the administration to give Graduate Assistant’s (GA) employee benefits and rights that are fair. That’s all we do. We try to make sure that GA’s get their fair share.
Often something needs to overcome inertia to initiate change. Especially when a situation has persisted for a long time. Someone often has to rock the boat to overcome that inertia. And boat rockers are certainly in good company: Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr., the Dalai Lama, Mandela, Rosa Parks, Galileo, etc… So, I’m not so scared to be the boat rocker anymore (though the fear is certainly still there), and I think my GAU experience has helped with this. Keeping in mind that list of famous boat rockers also helps…
Once upon a time boat rocking came fairly naturally. Sometimes good came from it, but sometimes not. My recollections of boat rocking events from my adult past could be summed up by: messy. Perhaps resolution was reached for a certain problem, but only after yelling had occurred.
Since my separation from my ex-, I’ve gained so many communication skills that I’m incredibly grateful for. These skills help me to avoid going on the defensive (more often) or taking things too far (e.g. yelling). These skills allow me to be more diplomatic and more professional. They allow me to listen and empathize. And more often, the skills lead to better relationships.
It’s an exciting time to live daringly.