Tortoise and the Wave

hawaii

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.  

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The Owl, the Grasshopper, and You…

We have been studying the story of the Owl and the Grasshopper by Aesop this week during our language arts lessons.

In the story, a grasshopper is busily making music in the middle of the day next to the home of a sleeping owl.  The owl, upon awakening, asks the grasshopper to leave.  It is day time and owls sleep during the day.

The grasshopper claims that he has rights to play and ignores the owl’s request.

The owl is a sneaky little fellow.  When the grasshopper begins to play his music, he interrupts the grasshopper with a tale about his special wine sent to him from the gods above.  Rumor has it that Apollo himself drinks the same wine.  Would the grasshopper like to share a drink?  The grasshopper quickly agrees and excitedly jumps to the home of the owl.

When – wack!  The owl pounces upon the grasshopper and eats him right up.

The moral of this story is:  Do not let flattery throw you off your guard against an enemy.

I would like to take it one step further.

Sometimes people have the tendency to look around for outside validation to support who they are and what they should be doing in their lives.  They spend their time strapped to a treadmill, counting calories, and obsessively updating their social media statuses in an attempt to win the flattery of others.  While flattery is nice to receive, it should not dictate lives.

Running around in search of kind words and the “wine of Apollo” is not a happy life to live.  Fragile, insecure, flattery-addicted-hearts are easy to “wack down” with unkind words – intentional or not.  And instead of living a life with purpose, the person looking for flattery will spend their entire life chasing around those compliments instead of fulfilling their life mission and dreams.

In the end, the desire to receive kind words gobbles up a person’s soul.  Dreams should never be sacrificed for a “wine” that doesn’t exist. Do not let flattery throw you off your guard and away from your life dreams.