I was helping my second grader with her reading homework the other day. I was assisting more with her understanding the meaning of a verb, rather than intervening. It’s important for a child to do their own work and come to their own conclusions. Of course, it’s tough for me not to swoop in and direct her to the right answer, but that doesn’t allow her to learn and grow. Plus, it gives me no indication of where she is academically, if I’m doing it for her. And, I’m so glad that I got to listen to her thought process as it pertained to the open-ended questions. Her assignment was based on Aesop’s Fable The Tortoise and the Hare. A common one for sure, with a moral that “slow and steady wins the race.” However, that was not how my daughter saw it.
After she found her verbs and circled her adjectives, she came to the open-ended questions. The first question was, “What did you learn from this fable?” She was quick to answer with, “Never give up.” I thought about trying to have her think more about the story, but then I realized the question wasn’t, “What do you think Aesop meant for the moral of the story to be?” It was, “What did you learn from this fable?” And she learned a powerful message.
It got me thinking how both the tortoise and the hare finished the race. They had different approaches and there was only one “winner,” but they both finished. The Hare didn’t wake up and say, “Screw it. I already lost.” Neither of them gave up.
Now let me add, before we focus too much on the word never, that I know it’s not right to speak in absolutes, such as always and never. There are things in life that may seem to be giving up (such as divorce), but may instead be one or both of the people deciding to not give up on themselves. Not that I am pro-divorce. I am simply stating that I recognize that there are instances when “giving up” is a healthier solution. It’s these instances that I am not speaking about today.
Today I am speaking about never giving up on yourself. Having experienced multiple times when giving up on life sounded like the optimal solution (a post for another day), and seeing what blessings have transpired after those dark and dreadful moments, I feel confident on this matter. I’ve learned that it doesn’t matter if I’m the Tortoise or the Hare, as long as I finish the race by crossing the proper finish line versus creating my finish line.
On a much less depressing note, I am learning to never give up on other matters in my life that could use a little extra focus, love, and appreciation. This blog is one example of that. I have wanted to throw in the towel in regards to this blog more times than I can count. While there may come a time when that is what is best for myself and our family, today is not that day. So, stay tuned, and never give up!