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As a dad, one of the more common statements that I make to my kids is, “…it’s what separates us from the animals!”
For example, “Hayden, use a knife and fork, it’s what separates us from the animals.”
Or perhaps, “Madison, use your inside voice, it’s what separates us from the animals.”
Or even, “Logan, don’t tease your sister, it’s what separates us from the animals.”
(Seriously, don’t judge me until you’ve tried it.)
Anyway, for some obscure reason, I was considering the differences between hamsters and people the other day and came up with the following aspects. Please note this is not an exhaustive list and doesn’t include references to body hair: Read the rest of this entry »
Peter Parrot came home upset and confused.
“What’s wrong?” his mother asked.
“I hate my stupid beak!” Peter blurted.
“Why do you hate your beak? I think it’s beautiful,” his mother said reassuringly.
“All of the other birds have much cooler beaks. Sammy Spoonbill, Pammy Pelican, Harry Hawk, Freddy Finch, all of them!”
Peter’s mother sat silently for a moment. “He may be right,” she thought to herself, they do have very cool beaks.
“You should go and see Major Macaw, he’ll know what to do. He’s the wisest of the parrots and lives in the tallest tree in the forest. Yes, he’ll know what to do,” responded Peter’s mother.
So Peter Parrot flew to the tallest tree in the forest and found Major Macaw.
Little Jimmy’s family was sitting around the dinner table having a polite conversation, when little Jimmy asked his dad, “How does fear grow?”
“What do you mean son?”
“Well, I can see that it makes sense to be afraid when you are standing on a cliff top and don’t want to fall over the edge, but my friend at school is terrified of asking or answering questions in class. He told me that even the thought of raising his hand and having everyone look at him makes him shake and he wants to crawl under the table and cry. He wasn’t always like that, he used to be so confident. How does someone become so afraid of something like that?”
“Why do you ask?”
“He doesn’t seem to mind, but I heard the teacher say to his mum that she was worried about him. Why should she worry? Surely being afraid of raising your hand in class isn’t a big deal. I don’t understand.”
The father pushed his chair back from the table and looked into the distance for a moment.
“Do you remember your Uncle Billy?” he asked.
One day, on the plains of Africa, a young buffalo named Walter approached his dad and asked him if there was anything that he should be afraid of.
“Only lions my son,” his dad responded.
“Oh yes, I’ve heard about lions. If I ever see one, I’ll turn and run as fast as I can,” said Walter.
“No, that’s the worst thing you can do,” said the large male.
“Why? They are scary and will try to kill me.”
The dad smiled and explained, “Walter, if you run away, the lions will chase you and catch you. And when they do, they will jump on your unprotected back and bring you down.”
“So what should I do?” asked Walter.
Two monkeys, a father and his young son, were sitting in a large tree together.
The son turned to his dad and said, “I’m hungry, can you get me some leaves to eat?”
The father looked at his son and smiled, “Well, then you had better get some yourself.”
“But I don’t know how.” the son protested.
“You have a choice,” responded the dad. ”You can pick the dry, unpalatable leaves that are found near the trunk or you can go to the edge of the limbs and choose the freshest, most delectable leaves.”
“That’s not fair, why can’t the nicest leaves be found where everyone can get to them easily?”
One of my favourite bloggers is Michael Hyatt and he recently shared a story about an experiment that was conducted a few years ago by a marine biologist.
The biologist placed a barracuda into a small tank and then added some small bait fish.
As you would expect, the barracuda quickly ate the smaller fish.
Then the researcher inserted a piece of glass into the tank, creating two separate sections. He put the barracuda on one side and new bait fish into the other.
The barracuda immediately attacked.
This time, however, he hit the glass and bounced off.
Undaunted, the barracuda kept repeating this behaviour every few minutes.
It always seems slightly cruel to me when a young bird is kicked out of its nest and forced to fly for the first time.
The chick always seems hesitant to leave and its first attempts at flapping its wings seem clumsy and ungainly.
In that moment, it’s vulnerable and for a few moments it looks as though it will be unsuccessful.
Then something remarkable happens.
After all of the seemingly futile flapping, the bird launches into the sky.
And in that moment, it transitions from a chick to a bird, from a creature that belongs in a nest to a creature that belongs in the heavens.
We have similar stages in our lives as well.
When we try something new, especially something grand, it seems uncomfortable at first.
A couple of weeks ago, Karen and I took the kids to a local park that has a pond.
We took some bread and fed the various ducks, coots and a solitary pelican. I wasn’t aware that pelicans are partial to bread, but that’s beside the point.
As we fed them, I noticed something interesting.
There was a large bunch of about 30 ducks that had gathered together a few metres away from the water’s edge in deeper water. They scrapped and fought for the few pieces of bread that were thrown into their midst.
There was also a solitary duck that had the courage to swim away from the flock and come closer to shore.
It realised that my five-year-old daughter, Madison, didn’t have such a strong arm and so there was a lot of bread on offer.
That duck ate well.
People aren’t that different.
Two tadpoles, Ted and Todd, hatched from the same batch of eggs.
They swam around excitedly, wiggling their little tails with great enthusiasm.
They swam up to their mum and exclaimed, “Look what we can do, look why we can do.”
The mother frog looked at the two tadpoles with great pride and called them closer. She then explained the process of metamorphosis and how they will eventually lose their tail and grow legs.
This news impacted the tadpoles differently.
A reed warbler works hard to create a complex nest set within the reeds of its habitat and proceeds to lay its eggs, only for the parasitic and nefarious cuckoo to come along and lay a much larger egg in the nest.
The egg of the cuckoo hatches sooner than the warbler’s eggs and the young chick pushes the warbler’s eggs out of the nest.
It then starts to squawk.
The poor, oblivious mum and dad reed warbler respond to the cuckoo chick’s squawks and start to feed him.
He keeps squawking and the warblers keep feeding him.
Soon, he’s bigger than his adopted parents.
But they keep feeding him until he’s big enough to fly away and live independently, leaving the poor warblers to look at each other and wonder what happened.
It wasn’t supposed to be like this.