Sunday, July 8, 2012

Giving Too Much

You've just hiked three miles into a magnificent forest. The sun is shining, the temperature is hovering around seventy degrees, and the humidity level is low. You breathe in the crisp air. You decide to savor the moment and rest by a waterfall a few yards further up the path. You spot a boulder that is made for sitting and settle in. You pull out a baggie full of homemade chocolate chip cookies and eat one too many. You gaze at the waterfall cascading into a lake that looks like it has been sprinkled with glitter. You hear a rustling in the bushes.

Oh no! It's a bear or maybe a coyote.

You are too frightened to move, but the rustling is getting louder. Soon you detect light footsteps. Curiosity conquers fear and you turn. You breathe a sigh of relief.

It's not a bear.

It's not a coyote.

It's not even a snake.

It's a....



demure deer. It hesitates, but doesn't take it's eyes off you. Or is this gentle creature gawking at your cookies? It must be hungry, and you've been taught to share. Do you toss some crumbs in the deer's direction or stash the baggy in your backpack? You recall signs you've read at national and state parks:



You pinch your chin. How many cookies did you just eat? You think about a sign that could be posted at your grocery store. Possibly:

WARNING

Eating food located in the center isles is not healthy for humans as their bodies don't adjust well to the salt, fat, sugar and preservatives often found in this food. If consumed, you will gain weight, feel sluggish, decrease your attention span, and crave more of these addictive substances. In addition, predators, such a heart disease and diabetes are attracted to humans with a high concentration of unnatural particles hovering in their bodies.      

You look at the deer's hopeful eyes as it continues to stare at your cookies. You recall seeing this bird the last time you crossed the border while traveling from the U.S. into Canada. 

  
The innocent vagabond is so used to people feeding it from their cars, it's not flying through the sky, plucking worms from the ground, or resting in a tree. Instead, it has taken residence on a busy highway nibbling on potato chips and Twinkie crumbs. It's not realizing its true potential or experiencing the satisfaction of self-reliance. In fact, the bird is being spoiled. What is the definition of spoil according to the dictionary?:

"Ruin something in such a way that a quality such as worth, beauty, or usefulness is diminished."

You recall seeing an unspoiled bird hunting for its own food in Yellowstone National Park:



You smile at the deer, stand and walk away.

Strolling along, accompanied by a touch of guilt, you think about your children, students, friends, society. As much as you want to give, there is always the possibility that you could give too much of the wrong things: like money without work, dessert before dinner, fun before chores. It is so tempting to watch an instant smile form on a face you care about because of a treat you bestowed. But just like the bird at the border, they will be back for more. It's just plain easier to be handed a treasure than to hunt for it. And soon the ability to hunt for the ultimate gift of independence and survival will be destroyed.

So on that day you took a hike and chose not to feed that deer, you gave it the gift of freedom, diligence, and power—so much better than a chocolate chip cookie.

Is there ever a time when you feel you give too much? I know I do. I need reminders like, "Don't feed the animals," to reign me in when my giving could be a detriment to another's growth and development.  

KICK BACK SONG OF THE WEEK:


In celebration of the quintessential gift: Independence Day by Bruce Springsteen. In this video, Bruce sings in Paris on July 4, 2012.
http://brucespringsteen.net/news/2012/independence-day-in-paris

KICK BACK BOOK OF THE WEEK:


The Little Prince by Antoine De Saint-Exupery. We can't have a Kick Back book list without this classic tale about a boy who learns how to live on his own as he travels from planet to planet.

A LITTLE SOMETHING EXTRA:











29 comments:

  1. I do. I give too much to my children and don't expect enough. But they are good kids and I know if I demand something from them, they will abide. God has been merciful with my mistakes. You are so wise, Peggy. I love how you notice the little things and are able to turn them into something much larger, so much food for thought.

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    1. I'm right there with you when it comes to giving too much to my sons. They have both been living independently for about a year now and it's so hard not to jump in and help them when problems arise. Fortunately, they are learning the ropes of life without too many knots...and from the sounds of your children, you are doing a lot right. Keep it up!

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  2. Peggy, what an awesome post! Sometimes when I see blog stories, I simply scan just to get the gist of the writing. NOT THIS TIME! I was hooked from the beginning and could not stop until I reached the end! Personally I am a giving person and it is very easy to give, give, give not realizing possibilities of thwarting responsibility. Definitely a moral to this story to be followed by all! Thank you for sharing!

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    1. What a nice compliment and so appreciated. Glad you enjoyed it.

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    2. Peggy, I am having difficulty getting this message to post. However, it may be just wait time so you may receive it twice. LOL:>)

      You have been nominated for the One Lovely Blog Award by catnipoflife! Stop by for a visit, read the rules and grab the tag for your website. Happy 'blogs' to you! Keep on writing:>)

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  3. http://www.BooksThatSow.comJuly 8, 2012 at 4:50 PM

    What a beautiful way with words and food for thought about giving too much. I enjoyed this blog because I also learned something about giving until it hurts when it seems right with love and a feeling of "I feel sorry." We must remain strong, however.

    Cherrye S. Vasquez,Ph.D.
    http://www.BooksThatSow.com

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    1. I think we all do, Cherrye. There is a fine line between giving out of love and creating another to become dependent on that giving. I struggle with this with my students and have had to stop myself from bailing my sons out on several occasions. Their self-reliance is my reward now that they are adults. In fact they get irritated with me when I offer too much. Thanks for stopping by and I appreciate your comment. ~ Peggy

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  4. Beautiful essay, and I agree with everything you wrote. As a parent, it's sometimes hard to achieve a balance -- being sure your child feels secure and knows that you'll be there for her, while allowing her to make mistakes. As you so beautifully stated, it's an awareness of what's ultimately best for the child. But in the end, we all just do the best we can, don't we?

    I'll tweat and pin the link to this post so others can enjoy it too.

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    1. Thanks, Sandy. I appreciate your support. Don't hesitate to send me a Linkedin message if there's anything I can do for you. I find it hard to keep up with all the messages in the various groups.

      And you are so right...We all just do the best we can.

      Peggy

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  5. What a beautiful post! It's really had to strike that delicate balance sometimes, but one of the best gifts we can give our kids is the ability to cope. If things come too easily, a sense of entitlement can follow rather than a sense of responsibility. I treasure most those things I had to work hard for. Great post!

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    1. I agree Sandra. It is hard to strike that balance. My parents didn't have the means to provide too much, material wise. I worked for most of what I wanted from the time I was 14. I do feel it has made me stronger. I did have the means to provide my sons with "things" and had to grapple with how much was too much many times. At 22 and 23, they are primarily self-sufficient (for the time being). Luckily, they landed good jobs. It is gratifying for a parent to see this.

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  6. Peggy
    This was a delightful, informative post. It's so hard not to give into the temptation of feeding those hopeful faces--both wildlife and our kids and grandkids. You did a really nice job on this and the pictures are lovely. I'll try to remember to urinate on a rock :).

    Hugs, Micki

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    1. Thanks Micki! I actually saw the goat sign in Olympic National Park. Keith and I got a "kick" out of it. Don't worry about "urinating on a rock." I'm sure it's men causing this problem (Sorry guys!).

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  7. I loved reading your article. it's not only creatively descriptive but also conveying a good message to all. keep it up Peggy!

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  8. You have been nominated for the One Lovely Blog Award by catnipoflife! Stop by for a visit, read the rules and grab the tag for your website. Happy 'blogs' to you! Keep on writing:>)

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  9. What a brilliant post. I am just like that deer. I feed myself way to much from the centre aisle. All that chocolate has steadily robbed me of my independence. I really need to think on this one. Thank you Peggy.

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    1. I think most of us are like that deer. Who do think was on the rock eating one too many cookies? I do try my best to eat healthy but....

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  10. Oh my goodness Peggy! You've done it again. Food for thought is always so much better than feeding the wrong food to our loved ones and wild animals. This is a simple life lesson eloquently put!

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  11. What a great, well written, informative and even humorous post. It unites all positive attributes of a blog post. I smiled, agreed and remembered all those times I found squirres cute how they begged for food, not thinking what I could eventually do to them.
    What a wonderful blog post!!

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  12. It is never enough to keep warning people of the deadly threats posed by the human food to their beloved pets and other earthly creatures. Loved the post.

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    1. It's true. We think we're being nice when we give our loved ones bad food, but not really.

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  13. Greetings Peggy,
    Thank you for another inspiring post. I look forward to my notices of all your blog post. This one is again so uplifting about the outdoors and a lesson of the things we should already know but don't always remember!

    Great job. I read you are getting ready to spearhead a new journey in writing.
    Good Luck,
    Rosemary "Mamie" Adkins

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    1. Hi Rosemary ~ My novel, A Stop in the Park, will be relaesed in about two months. Psyched! As always, I love visits from my Irish Traveler friend! ~ Peggy

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  14. Hi Peggy,
    I've nominated you for a blogger award! Check here for details:
    http://homeiswherethebookis.blogspot.com/2012/07/versatile-blogger-award.html

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  15. Peggy, your information is always informative, even if you don't have kids that are at home, I love reading them.
    www.loris-song.com/blog4

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