The popular children’s story, Tortoise and the Hare, tells of a race held between an overly-confident hare and a consistent tortoise. The hare, upon recognizing that he is winning the race, lies down to nap before the finish line. When the hare awakens, he discovers that the slow, but steady tortoise is inches away from winning the race. The hare jumps up, and runs towards the finish line in an attempt to reclaim his title as the “fastest.” In the end, the steady tortoise wins the race – reminding all of us that “slow and steady wins the race.”
I find that I have more in common with the hare than the tortoise. I want to loose my belly-post-baby-weight today, I want the dishes done, and I want to finish writing that book in the next hour. I push myself hard and then crash while the slow and steady pull ahead. I don’t know slow-and-steady, instead I know dash-and-crash.
While sitting on the beach in Hawaii, the waves of the ocean pushed their way slowly up the beach. With each and every swoop, they inched their way up closer to my sun-burned legs and sandy towel. Up and back, push and pull, crash and crack. Like the tortoise, the water progressed slowly without a ruler, scale, or calculator. Even when it didn’t appear to be so, the water succeed because it continued to splash and move.
With four young kids, I often feel that one step towards my goal is five big steps in the opposite direction. Success hinges upon a completed book, an empty sink, and a happy number on the scale. I stay up late, wake up early, and try to “squeeze in” as much as I can without depriving my children of my attention. Dish by dish and word by word, I can put the calculators and rulers away. It doesn’t matter how much I accomplish in one day, it only matters that I try. The efforts may not feel big today, but eventually I will reach the finish line – slow and steady.