Penny the little penguin was hatched in a small burrow.
For the first few weeks of her life, all that she knew was the small, dark space that she called home.
Then her mum looked at her and said, “It’s time Penny.”
“Time for what mum?”
“It’s time to go out there, to swim in the ocean and catch fish.” her mum replied with a smile.
“But I’m scared,” said Penny, “I’ve heard that there are seals and foxes and sharks that want to eat me, and what if I can’t catch fish? I like it in here, it’s safe and warm and it’s all that I know. Why can’t I stay here forever?”
“Because you’re a penguin, Penny. We don’t hatch to stay hidden in burrows forever. We hatch to swim, to chase, to live. Yes, it’s risky being a penguin, but that’s who you are and that’s how you are meant to live.”
Penny hesitated for a moment and waddled towards the entrance of her burrow.
Her eyes blinked as she stepped into the sunshine for the first time.
She looked at her little flippers and waved them around.
And she took her first steps into the ocean and swam.
And she felt truly alive!
Penny’s dilemma is similar to ours.
It’s easy to find a small, dark place to spend our lives that feels safe and comfortable and devoid of risk.
We know that we are meant for more, but it looks too scary.
“What if it goes wrong?”
“What if I fail?”
“What if I’m not up to it?”
All good questions, but there’s a bigger question that matters more.
“What if I get to the end of my days and regret not leaving the safety of the burrow to live the life that I was meant to live, with all of the risk, the danger and the thrill of the chase?”
Penny made the right decision.
HT: If you are looking for a great family movie, check out “Oddball,” a terrific Australian movie, based on a true story about a small colony of little penguins that was saved by an eccentric chicken farmer, his granddaughter and his maremma dog. This story came to me as we drove home with the kids from the movies during the school holidays.
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