I found this as I was cleaning out my desk and decided to share...
Some of you who work in the education/social services field may have seen this...it's fairly well known. For those of you who are parents with kids who are "outside the box", or if you were a child who was "outside the box", you may like this as well...
The Animal School: A Fable
by George Reavis
Once upon a time the animals decided they must do something heroic to meet the problems of a “new world” so they organized a school. They had adopted an activity curriculum consisting of running, climbing, swimming and flying. To make it easier to administer the curriculum, all the animals took all the subjects.
The duck was excellent in swimming. In fact, better than his instructor. But he made only passing grades in flying and was very poor in running. Since he was slow in running, he had to stay after school and also drop swimming in order to practice running. This was kept up until his webbed feet were badly worn and he was only average in swimming. But average was acceptable in school so nobody worried about that, except the duck.
The rabbit started at the top of the class in running but had a nervous breakdown because of so much makeup work in swimming.
The squirrel was excellent in climbing until he developed frustration in the flying class where his teacher made him start from the ground up instead of the treetop down. He also developed a “charlie horse” from overexertion and then got a C in climbing and D in running.
The eagle was a problem child and was disciplined severely. In the climbing class, he beat all the others to the top of the tree but insisted on using his own way to get there.
At the end of the year, an abnormal eel that could swim exceeding well and also run, climb and fly a little had the highest average and was valedictorian.
The prairie dogs stayed out of school and fought the tax levy because the administration would not add digging and burrowing to the curriculum. They apprenticed their children to a badger and later joined the groundhogs and gophers to start a successful private school.
Does this fable have a moral?
What I take from this, is that everyone is good at something. Everyone has a gift. Sometimes it's obvious, sometimes it's not. everyone has strengths, but everyone also has weaknesses. The ones who do seem to be good at everything, are in the minority...it's not "normal" to be good at everything, nor should it be expected. You cannot force someone to excel at something, or even be good at something, if it simply is not within them...you need to learn how to adapt the system to best meet their needs...to best serve them where they are at. Everyone who doesn't fit into a nice, neat tidy box knows how hard that can be. Every child, or parent of a child who pushes the boundaries, pushes the rules, who lives by a completely different set of rules, doesn't fit well into that all important box.
In this analogy, those kids are the prairie dogs, badgers, and gophers. Their needs were not being met, so they fought the system and ended up creating a new way to do things..and they turned out just fine.
Some of the biggest "problem children" have turned into the most successful adults. What is viewed as "stubbornness" in a child, is viewed at "persistance" or "determination" in adults. What is viewed as "Defiance" in children, could be viewed as "courage" in adults. Don't try to change it, to squash it. Don't wish it away. Accept it for what it is and figure out how to make it work for you. If your needs are not being met...keep fighting until they are. Find somewhere where they are. Create something, do something, to meet your needs.
And always remember you are not alone. That story was written for a reason.
And that it's worth it.
- I grew up in a village of 500 people and now live in a beach town of 10 000. Wife to Jeff, Mama to Makenna and Jack. This is my place to share what's up with us, and the place where I sometimes need to pour my heart out about the not so sunshiney moments. This is my happy place. Thanks for stopping by :) Copyright 2012 by Melissa Wormington, that no part of this blog may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means, without permission from the publisher.