Wanting to be someone else is a waste of the person you are.
One day we went to pick up our grandson at his school in northern Virginia. It was a beautiful spring day so we decided to go to the local gardens where we had taken many walks before with our grandchildren. Normally, our grandchildren were very enthusiastic about going to the gardens, especially Mark, who was quite a nature lover and loved being out in the woods among the plants and the trees.
It truly was a gorgeous spring day, with many flowers blooming, birds singing and the waters from the brook below rushing fast over the many rocks that lined its path. Despite all of this, we noticed how sad Mark was. Kicking pebbles along the tree-lined path, he mumbled, “There is nothing special about me.”
“Why do you say that?” I asked.
“Well, I am smaller than my older brother who is fussed over for being the biggest and I am bigger than my younger brother who is fussed over because he is the baby. There is nothing special about me.”
“Ah, I see your dilemma.” Although, I knew how much he was loved I knew how easy it was to praise the oldest son for accomplishing new things for the first time. I also knew that his parents were busy helping the youngest, for he was the littlest. By Mark’s statement I knew he felt that he, the middle son, was not getting the same attention.
We walked a little farther into the woods when Mark stopped and asked if we could throw rocks into the brook to see which one would go the farthest.
“Okay,” I said.
Mark enthusiastically said, “I am going to throw the biggest rock, because I know it will go the farthest.” Mark picked up the largest rock he could and threw it. Although it made a very big splash, it didn’t go very far. Mark thought for a minute and said, “Since the big rock didn’t go very far, I am going to throw a little rock instead.” He picked up a little pebble and threw it but it didn’t go very far because it was too little. Mark was puzzled.
Thinking quickly, I said, “Why don’t you pick up a rock that is in between the two other sized rocks and see what happens.” As a family we had always spent a lot of time out in nature and I thought this was a very good opportunity to use nature as a teacher.
Mark reached over and picked up a medium sized rock and threw it.
Mark said, “Look, Ika, the middle sized rock went the farthest!”
I stopped for a moment and smiled at Mark. “You see, Mark, you are like the middle rock. In this situation the little rock was too light, the big rock was too heavy but the middle rock was just right.
“So, I am special?”
“Yes, Mark, everyone and everything is special and has a special purpose, especially you.”
Mark smiled and picked up another medium size rock to throw again.