Welcome to The Daily Kind, where we help you stay inspired to raise humans ready for anything.
I'm Kirk Wheeler. It's February 26th, 2021. I'm so glad you're here. Today is the last day in our series about failure being the seed, and as I thought more about the episode from yesterday, I was reminded of a story that would have been a really good one to tell. So let's consider this a part two or a follow up, and once again, my failure of imagination yesterday is the seed of our story today.
"The futility of action does not absolve one from the failure to act." –Janette Turner Hospital
Picture yourself walking on a beach in the early morning, a little ways down the shore, you notice a child pick up a starfish and throw it back into the sea. As you get closer, you call out to the child. Hello there. What are you doing? The child turns and looks at you and says, I'm throwing starfish into the sea and you ask why?
The child responds, if I don't throw them into the water before the sun comes up, they will die. You take a minute and pause and you consider the size of the task ahead of that child. And then you blurt out, you do realize that there are miles of beach and thousands of starfish, right? You won't make a difference. The child turns and picks up another starfish and throws it back into the sea.
And then the child turns and says, kindly. It made a difference to that one.
Maybe you've heard this story before, or read the book or seen a YouTube video. For me at least, it doesn't matter how many times I hear it. It connects. It's one of those stories that has such a deep truth buried inside. And they used to think about it a lot when my daughter Elodie, was younger, she's 12 now, and she actually still does this thing, but we would be playing out in our front yard and she would always be sure to remove the roly polies from the sidewalk so that no one stepped on them. And as we get older, it can be easy to forget that these simple acts of kindness matter, and it can be easy to become jaded and think that our efforts won't make a difference, but they do.
Most of our days are spent not thinking about how short our time on this planet actually is, but in stories like these we're reminded how it's not about how much time we have, but what we do with the time we're given. And if we can make a difference to one person, one starfish, one roly-poly, it's worth the effort.
So what's the takeaway? (I was hoping you would take us away to the beach again.)
How can you help the humans you are raising? When they are facing what seems like an insurmountable challenge, how can you help them not feel overwhelmed by the size and scope of anything from homework and school projects, to the work of dismantling systemic racism and course correcting on climate change.
If it helps, you can remind them of the star thrower, but maybe you don't need to do that. Maybe you just need to tell them it's possible, that the work they're doing matters, no matter how small it may seem in the grand scale of the universe. Every act makes a difference.
So this is a little aside. I have to tell you how happy I am that we're moving into March. This is a little subtle failure for me, but I'm terrible at spelling. And the word February is terrible to say. And in my brain, just saying it right now hurt a little bit. February, February, February. February, February, February. I dunno, it's just a weird word. See you in March.
I hope you find this helpful. Be sure to take care of yourself today, hydrate. And remember, there is no perpetual parenting playbook. We're all learning as we go. And with curiosity is our map and a willingness to make a difference to the one, we can be ready for anything.
So good luck today. You've got this. I'm rooting for you.