When I was little, I read a fable called The Tortoise and The Hare. You’ve read it too. There is a race between a Tortoise (a turtle) and a Hare (a rabbit). The tortoise is slow, and the Hare is fast. They line up to race, and everyone knows that the Hare is going to win.
But they don’t award the medal at the beginning of the race.
There are a lot of important lessons in this fable. We call them “teachable moments” at Chez Ward. One lesson is to ignore the loud person who brags a lot. Another lesson is that it may be important to start well, but it’s even more important to finish well. And to race well all during the race.
Persistence and resilience bring rewards.
I did not start well in life. I was short, fat, unathletic, I wore thick unattractive glasses, and I had braces. I was always the last one chosen for dodge ball, if you know what I mean.
So I took my fair share of abuse in elementary school. Sort of like the tortoise.
I remember thinking “I will show you….”. Not in a vengeful way. More of a “just give me a chance, and I can show the world that I’m capable of something”.
Luckily for me, the world doesn’t reward medals for 4th grade dodge ball skills. The world rewards hard work, patience, and a persistent attitude.
Some of the kids I knew had their peak on the playground in 4th grade.
I haven’t hit my peak yet. I’m just getting started.
My girls go to school with some really smart people. It’s not that my girls aren’t smart. But they go to school with some scary-smart people. People whose hair is on fire with smarts.
Some of their classmates are so smart, that they don’t have to study at all. They have so much native intelligence that the content comes to them naturally.
I feel sorry for them. They haven’t learned to work yet. Sort of like The Hare.
My girls have to work really hard. They have developed outstanding work ethics. They have to work harder than anybody else.
Sort of like The Tortoise.
My daughters are receiving their grades for the end of the year right now. I’ve been listening to them moan for a month about how badly they thought they had done. They’ve been making plans to sleep in each others basements for the rest of their lives. I’ve been listening to them talk about what it’s like to be the underdog.
Now they are learning the results, and there is a lot of celebrating going on.
The lesson here?
The Hare might be more fun to watch at the starting line.
But I always bet on the Tortoise.