Wishing you all a very happy Friday! Two posts in seven days. Best streak I’ve had in a while…
This picture popped up one day as I was perusing the interwebs, and I haven’t been able to forget about it since. You may look at it and say it’s just a small child interacting with a statue of rabbits… you wouldn’t be incorrect, BUT if that’s all you can see, well, good for you – congrats – no need to read on. I, on the other hand, have spent (surprisingly) several hours thinking about this scene. At a minimum, it is a joyous display of kindness and heart-warming outreach.
I can’t really explain it… It’s just one of those images that sticks with you and has a very real and lasting impact on your perspective. This just feels like an example that Mr. Rogers would use in one of his TV shows.
Here are my thoughts:
Help Without Regard
I can see the scenario playing out something like this in our day and age:
- You’re too small to help, you’ll just get in the way.
- What could you possibly help them with, it’s not your problem?
- Why don’t you just stand by and watch while someone else helps?
I take many issues with those types of perspectives, and I think many of you would agree. Too frequently, someone is told they shouldn’t lend a hand because they’re too small, too young, too short, too inexperienced – the list goes on. And yet we have issues of bystander apathy where everyone assumes “someone else” will take charge and help out. I say bravo to this little boy for helping the family of rabbits! At such a young age he more than understands what so many of us have forgotten – everyone in this world needs a hand at one time or another and it is absolutely our job to lend it when we are equipped, able, and willing.
Help Because It’s the Right Thing to Do
As a society, we have completely lost our way of doing the right thing. Too often people are only interested in doing the right thing when it benefits them – that’s not really the definition of doing the right thing now is it? The right thing is admitting mistakes, apologizing for hurting others, mending the bridge when it is against our natural inclination to punish others (or burn the bridge further), helping when no one is watching, and doing so with a genuine, selfless spirit.
I don’t care much for his personal decisions, but Michael Phelps recently was in a commercial which touches on a similar note. Commercialization aside, what you do in the dark (unseen) does shape who you are and how you interact with the world around you. The right thing should be done regardless of audience, benefit, or gain. No one will applaud you for taking responsibility for messing up a client delivery, but establishing habits of telling the truth will bring its own reward 20 years down the road.
This kiddo knows that he is in a time and a place where he can lend assistance to his rabbit peeps, and doesn’t give a crap if people see him or not :-)
Help Others That Aren’t Like You
The world is a giant melting pot of experiences, cultures, backgrounds, and opinions, and as such, we often draw near towards those who are more similar to us than different. I stand guilty as charged on this one. It’s hard to branch out and surround yourself with so much “different-ness” – perfect example, I rarely take time to interact with people less fortunate than I, and I certainly don’t go out of my way to volunteer time tutoring, passing out meals at soup kitchens, or teaching computer classes. I make excuses of busyness, lack of time, or anything else to keep me in my comfortable bubble.
This young lad in the photo doesn’t have time for that. He knows this fluffy cottontail is in trouble and he is on his way to help out. He doesn’t care if the rabbit is a boy or a girl, young or old. He just sees the need and he fills it. That is the mark of a kind and gentle soul.
Help If You Don’t Understand
I’m often told I am a good listener. People start talking to me for whatever reason. Maybe I look nice? I dunno, but while I appreciate the fact that people enjoy talking to me, and I think that I am indeed a good listener, I am probably not a good hearer… splitting hairs, you say? Not really.
To listen is to ask questions, to get them to share, to feel appreciated, and most of all, to have a sounding board. Hearing, on the other hand, implies true understanding, focusing 100% of your attention, providing an overwhelming sense of empathy, care, and concern, and the ability to stand in another’s shoes. I’m not saying I don’t care and that I’m not concerned – but I’ve stated 1000 times that empathy is not my strong point, that’s not to say I can’t be empathetic, but it is not my strength. It is unnatural to be a good hearer, and all the more reason for us to practice. It is a skill after all. For me, it is so hard not to get distracted, especially as noisy as our world is.
People come from all kinds of places of hurt and need, and it is not for us to judge (I judge way too much) or to come down harshly, but rather to be a friend, a partner in crime, or simply someone to share a meal with and let them know they are in a place of safety.
Back to the boy – he doesn’t know if the rabbit is trying to climb up to its family or if they’re letting him down the side of their hut to escape the wolf banging on the door. I like to think its the former… but he is lending the hand regardless and rising to the occasion.
Life is not a zero sum game. It is a team sport, without individual winners or losers. You may think you’re on the “individual” path, but without a doubt you will absolutely, 100% need someone else’s help for something. It simply cannot be avoided. In general, society would rather have you win as an individual than lose as a team, and that’s kind of sad.
Perhaps the most important aspect of teamwork is stewardship.
Stewardship: the careful and responsible management of something entrusted to one’s care.
In case you haven’t caught on, humans are unique in several ways, self-awareness being one of the most important, but the fact that we are stewards of the creatures, plants, and natural wonders that we have been placed on this Earth with us is the most unique. We are to utilize those resources wisely, leave things better than when we found them, craft, nurture, and promote life, and do our due diligence. We are the temporary caregivers, and that means we are responsible. And just as we are responsible for the non-humans, we’re responsible for nourishing our fellow humans too…
So next time you see a rabbit statue clinging on for dear life, perhaps give it a second thought. It may last you a while ;-)
Galatians 6:10 “So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone…”