Tiger Eye Sessions: Staying sharp on the river
We met a man along the river who told us about a special stone called “Tiger Eye”. It’s a gemstone with black and gold and some orange mixed in. Tiger eye, the man told us, is believed to bring strength and good power to whomever holds it. It must be cleansed every three days, he warned, or the it will begin to drain your strength and take your power.
From that encounter, the Tiger Eye sessions were born. Every three days or so, we have a meeting with each other to cleanse, so to speak, ourselves, our partnership, and our expedition. This helps us re-focus our energy, regain strength, and re-charge our power to continue taking on the challenges of expedition life, or “rise up to the challenge of our rival”, if you like.
Our first official Tiger Eye session happened on July 16, 2016. After spending 66 days travelling the river, we had plenty of opportunity to figure out how we operate best as a team and in what areas we fall short. We’ve created a list of a few things to do every few days to help us use our strengths while keeping an eye on our weaknesses so that they don’t get in our way.
Every three days…
- Express vulnerability
We reflect on the last few days and share with each other something we are proud of, not so proud of, or something that involves taking a positive risk (vulnerability) to express. We take ownership of feelings, actions, or thoughts, even the hard ones and say it out loud. As a result, this helps us build trust with one another and clear the air of any issues or misunderstandings.
We express gratitude for one another and the people and places around us. It can be easy to take for granted what someone does for you while you are so busy doing things yourself. Even a simple “thank you” can go a long way in making someone feel valuable. Noticing the specific accomplishments and contributions each us had made and giving the other person recognition is an important part of keeping our team mentality healthy.
- Prioritize tasks for the next few days
We think about the Expedition Mentality triangle that balances self, team, and resources on each side. With those main categories in mind, what must get done? What is realistic to do? Clarify who is doing what. At the next meeting we look at the list to see how we did. We celebrate the successful accomplishments, evaluate any failures, then reprioritize for the next three days.
- SOC Curriculum Activity
We set aside time to do and document confidence-building activities. This helps us to build our own confidence and provide an example for others. This is what we post to the wilderness classroom.com on our SOC Expedition drop-down menu.
For Educators: Ideas for bringing our Social and Emotional learning activities into your classroom.
- Instead of every three days, conduct a Tiger Eye session on a Friday in your classroom, as a way of processing the week and letting students express themselves, along with “clearing the air” of any conflicts or disagreements.
- You can use the prioritize tasks component for students to list any homework or other project work they need to get done over the weekend.
- The SOC curriculum activities do not need to be completed during a Tiger Eye session, if you do not have the time in your classroom. These can be done as supplemental activities throughout the week or month.