Thursday, October 11, 2012

One Story -- Many Lessons


You know those stories that you never live down?  We were at the dinner table the other night and got to laughing over a story about my daughter Mia, a story that gets told and retold.  I’ve probably written about it on the blog, but I can’t remember, so here it is again, with Mia’s permission (accompanied by an eye roll).

When she was in kindergarten, the kids lined up to move through the hallways between the classroom and activities located elsewhere in the school.  Every day, someone was chosen by the teacher to be the line leader, which is a big deal when you are in kindergarten.

One day, as the kids lined up, Mia immediately observed that the girl in front was not the chosen line leader that day.  The chosen leader was further back in the line, apparently shirking her responsibility.  As the line moved forward, Mia was looking back over her shoulder, waving and calling to the girl who was supposed to be in front, and telling her to assume her assigned position (telling her in a somewhat bossy way, as the story was related to me).

As Mia became more adamant (it seems the girl was not at all concerned that some upstart had usurped her role), she was not watching where she was going and tripped over a chair right in front of her, falling flat and getting a bit banged up in the process.

I love this story first of all because I love Mia, and this incident so captures the feisty little pixie that she was.  I also love it because it has much to offer upon reflection.

Shall we play a game today?  How many lessons can we learn from this simple story?

45 comments:

  1. "feisty little pixie" - what a great descriptive phrase. My 3 year old grandaughter is not really feisty, but she has the strongest sense of right and wrong - she would have been totally affronted that the designated leader was not doing her job!

    Lovely story - no wonder it is often retold :)

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    1. Alexia, If she's like Mia, then that affront can lead right into a chair! Thanks for commenting.

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  2. I can relate to this as well, from a ride with my daughter and her daughter yesterday. My grandaughter is 3 and yesterday she mentioned twice that her Mommy drove while the light was red! Of course she doesn't understand the fine point of being able to turn right on red, as far as her 3 year old brain was concerned, her Mommy went while the light was Red! As for the lesson- keep your focus on where you are going at all times!

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    1. Karen, We think they are not paying attention, but they see everything. Thanks for sharing your story.

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  3. Ah...game time Galen!

    I love stories too and here too there are some lessons to take back home. I think we need to look where we go or keep an eye on the path we tread, rather than looking into other people's affairs- that being the reason she tripped. But then she was only a child.:)

    However, I also liked her power of observation at that young an age, and she was in a way trying to get the other girl's attention to get take up her responsibility, so she was playing her part of being a friend or good classmate too. :)

    Thanks for making us think on this one. :)

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    1. Harleena, Your first lesson is the one that jumps out at me. The second one is more subtle, and more generous to Mia. Thanks for your comment.

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  4. Such a lovely story, Galen. I don't remember you telling it before. Lessons to be learned -
    1.taking responsibility,
    2.trying to be fair,
    3.looking out for someone else,
    4. Looking out for other people, can sometimes cause you to fall flat on your face! ;)
    I'm sure there are many more. Would love to read the comments. Fantastic way to draw your readers in. But then you always do. :)

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    1. Corinne, You are on a roll! Thanks for sharing your thoughts, and for the kind words.

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  5. I seem to recall a scripture about not concerning oneself with the mote in a friend's eye when there is a beam in one's own eye. LOL! Not that your Mia had a beam in her eye! But she probably should have been facing forward in line. It's always easier to focus on other people's shortcomings. Cute story. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Kim, Hard to see that chair with the beam in your own eye! Thanks for commenting.

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  6. Kim's comment matches mine. We spend way too much time worrying about what others are doing instead of focusing on the one person we can really affect: ourselves. I guess the theory is "I'm really doing quite well, but that other person.......!

    BTW, I've met the grown up Mia and she is still a pixie and a great mom!

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    1. Bob, Yes, she is still a pixie and still feisty. And a great mom. Thanks for commenting.

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  7. How about, "It is easier to lead than to worry about who's leading"?

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    1. CW, I hadn't thought of that one. Thanks for commenting.

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  8. As I read through the comments there were some good lessons learned. Thanks for the thoughts and Mia is much like one of my daughters. She is such a joy as I am sure Mia is to you.
    Blessings!

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    1. LeAnn, Yes, Mia is a joy. I'm sure your daughter is, too. Thanks for commenting.

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  9. Lessons Learned:
    1. Stop worrying
    2. Focus on your own life
    3. Let go
    4. Take care of yourself first

    Maybe the lesson wasn't Mia's but was for the two others. Be assertive and find yourself at the front. Be mindful, it's your turn at the front. Don't let others take advantage you.

    What a fun game!

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    1. Betsy, All good lessons! Thanks for commenting.

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  10. I like Betsy answer. Don't let others take advantage of you. I also thought Stand up for others that might not be able to stand up for them self. That reminds me of my only daughter. She is head strong and has to follow all the rules and won't let anyone bend a rule.

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    1. Bonnie, I'm enjoying all the different perspectives on this story. Thanks for adding yours.

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  11. Looking through the comments, there's lots of good lessons here! What came to my mind is, "you don't have to take responsibility/can't take responsibility for everyone else." It's a lesson I am still working on! :-)

    Thanks for sharing a lovely story.

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    1. Tina, That is a key lesson here, I agree. Thanks for commenting.

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  12. Mia knew what was right and she spoke her peace even though the girl did not care to respond. This is what makes a leader and also a good mother when her times comes.

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    1. Joyful, Her time has already come--Mia's little boy just had his first birthday. And you are right--she is a terrific mom. Thanks for your comment.

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  13. Whenever we try to control others we are at great risk of falling and getting all banged up! And yet, we know Mia is nobody's doormat. Yae for her!

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    1. Sandra, Well said! Thanks for commenting.

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  14. "Mind thy own self" (or business) is probably a great lesson. I may possibly have finally gotten that one. Also it's one I constantly tell my kids - "Just worry about yourself."

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    1. Julie, A good lesson for all of us. Thanks for your comment.

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  15. It's both good to care about others and help yourself!

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    1. Jodi, A good lesson on both counts! Thanks for your comment.

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  16. i have racked my brain and all i can really come up with is, "watch where you're going!"

    i wonder why this would be a favorite story told over and over again? in my family, with my grown kids, the stories we tell over and over again highlight heroic moments!

    i was called into school when my son was about the same age, kindergarten, because when lining up for lunch he raised his hand and asked the teacher, "I don't understand why we have a girl's line and a boy's line to go to lunch. Like, if we were going to the restroom, I see, but what difference does it make to go to lunch if you have a penis or not?"

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    1. Linda, We have our heroic stories, too, and I have several about Mia that also get told and retold. But often our family stories highlight something that captures that person's unique personality. To me, this story captures Mia's youthful, well-intentioned, but sometimes misdirected, eagerness to be in everyone else's business when not always minding her own. It made her an attentive friend, but occasionally got her into trouble. It was part of her exuberant charm.

      But no contest with your story! Oh my gosh, that one is priceless!!

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  17. Mia is a good sport for letting you tell this one. LOL! The obvious lesson to me is to keep your eyes on your own steps, which of course could be interpreted to mean mind your own business. LOL!! Good one!

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    1. Leah, Yep, I think that lesson is pretty clear! Thanks for commenting.

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  18. I got a chuckle from this story, and love that you checked with Mia before sharing it. (I check with my adult kids before sharing those family stories too.)

    Two lessons come through for me

    1. When we are focusing on someone else and situations over which we have no control, we are neglecting to take care of our own business, the only thing over which we have control.

    2. When someone isn't taking her rightful place, it can mean that she doesn't want the responsibility that goes with it, and therefore chooses not to step up.

    Mia, of course, was just being her delightful self, and thankfully only suffered temporary bruises. As adults, however, if we don't learn these lessons, we will suffer bruises that don't heal as easily.

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    1. Flora, Thanks for adding your lessons to the mix. And so true, the lessons of childhood carry over into our adult lives. Thanks for your comment.

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  19. Galen, I have a few thoughts on this one. First, thanks to Mia for allowing you to share her story. We can learn so much just by paying attention to our children. I have a pillow that is stitched with the saying "I'm not bossy, I just have better ideas." It reminds me to evaluate the circumstances before jumping in.

    *When we focus too much on what someone else is doing we may miss the obstacles and the blessings in our own path.

    *Pick your own battles - we may see a victim that does not exist.

    *Fight for those who have been pushed aside because they need your voice, not your self righteousness.

    *If you don't think you are being led by the right person do something about it!

    *Channel your leadership skills for doing good.

    Fun game and thoughtful as always.

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    1. Suzanne, Wow, you pulled a lot out of this story. I like all your lessons, a few I had not thought of. Thanks so much.

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  20. Without reading what others have said (I'll do that later) I would say lessons learned from this story, and a cute story it is I must add, would be:

    Learning through children's life lessons. Even though the child may not understand the depth of the event, we can gently guide them even later in life in referencing through stories of their past.

    Love and respect for children, I see and feel the love and respect you share with your daughter through all you share about her.

    If something isn't bothering someone let it go, it's not my business to begin with.

    oops I just glanced up and I love what the previous response says "Channel your leadership skills for good", however your daughter thought at the time she was doing just this.

    Learn to laugh at yourself, when we do something silly in life we should be able to laugh at ourselves, dust ourselves off and carry on.

    I could find more, but now I'm pressed for time. I've missed reading your insightful posts, somehow life is busy these days and I have to slow it down a notch.

    I love the look of your blog, did you create this or is it a template?

    Have a fantastic week Galen, cheers.

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    1. darlin, Thanks for adding your insights from the story. And thanks for the kind words about the blog appearance. Yes, it is a template from Blogger. It is a bit summery for the current season, though, and I will probably change it soon. Hope you will like the new look, too. Thanks for stopping by (I hear you about that busy life and need to slow it down!).

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  21. Great tale. Apparently, it is a big deal even when you are not in Kindergarten.

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    1. JJ, Ha, so true! Thanks for commenting.

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  22. Wonderful story. That's nice that your Mia let's you retell it.:) As many of the other comments, it speaks to me about letting go of control. When we attempt to control others, we often end up hurting ourselves. Take care.

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    1. Cathy, Letting go of control seems to be a theme in my family! Thanks for commenting.

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  23. Thank you Galen for sharing that story.

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