Here is an entertaining short story that has a lesson for everyone, including kids, adults, parents and educators. After reading this positive parenting story, you may feel a little more relaxed about the role and more willing to embrace each child’s uniqueness. It goes like this.
A Rabbit on the Swim Team
Once upon a time, the animals decided they should do something meaningful to meet the problems of the new world. So they organized a school.
They adopted an activity curriculum of running, climbing, swimming and flying. To make it easier to administer the curriculum, all the animals took all the subjects.
Now, the DUCK was excellent in swimming; in fact, better than his instructor. But he made only passing grades in flying and was very poor in running. Since he was slow in running he had to drop swimming and stay after school to practice running. This caused his webbed feet to be badly worn, so that he was only average in swimming. But average was quite acceptable, so nobody worried about that-except the duck.
The RABBIT started at the top of his class in running, but developed a nervous twitch in his leg muscles because of so much make-up work in swimming.
The SQUIRREL was excellent in climbing, but he encountered constant frustration in flying class because his teacher made him start from the ground up instead of from the treetop down. He developed an ankle injury from over-exertion, and so only got a ‘C’ in climbing and a ‘D’ in running.
The EAGLE was a problem child and was severely disciplined for being a non-conformist. In climbing classes he beat all the others to the top of the tree, but insisted on using his own way to get there. At the end because of all the discipline, one of his wings was injured and he could not climb nor fly as excellently as before.
At the end of the curriculum, the duck who was a master swimmer ended up being an average swimmer, the rabbit a fast runner could hardly run, the squirrel an excellent climber could hardly climb and the eagle a great flyer could barely fly.
Moral of the Story
The moral of the story is a simple one: each creature has its own set of talents, areas in which it will naturally excel – unless it is expected or forced to fill a mold that doesn’t fit. When that happens, frustration, discouragement, and even guilt bring overall mediocrity or complete defeat.
A duck is a duck and ONLY a duck. It is built to swim not to run or fly and certainly not to climb. A squirrel is a squirrel – and ONLY that. To move it out of its forte, climbing, and then expect it to swim or fly will drive a squirrel nuts. Eagles are beautiful creatures in the air but not in a foot race. The rabbit will win every time unless, of course, the eagle gets hungry.
So relax. Cultivate your own capabilities, your own style. Appreciate the members of your own family or those around you for who they are, even though their outlook or style may be miles different from yours. Rabbits don’t fly. Eagles don’t swim. Ducks look funny trying to climb. Squirrels don’t have feathers. Stop comparing. Enjoy being you and your children for being themselves! There’s plenty of room in the forest.