Lessons from a Squirrel…
Sitting down to write this week there is heaviness in the air with a fine misty rain falling from the sky. The first signs of fall have arrived along with a cool crispness in the morning air. I absolutely love this time of year. I find myself spending a few extra minutes outside on the playground with my preschoolers, taking the long way back through the memory garden to our classroom pointing out the new colors of fall on the trees. Another sign that fall is upon us is the multitude of squirrels darting in and out of the trees collecting food for the long winter. My classroom sits on the corner of the building which gives me the privilege of having two sets of double windows in my room. My students and I have been able to watch one particular little squirrel diligently work toward collecting food for the upcoming winter. With my students squealing with joy as they watch the squirrel zip past on the hunt for the perfect nut the squeals continue as he returns moments later to the other side of the building to store his newfound treat. This back and forth routine goes on all day long. While talking with my students about this busy little critter I wondered aloud if he ever rested; one little girl said she thought he needed to take a break.
As I sat in my classroom working on lesson plans while my students slept, I found myself reflecting on the busyness of the squirrel. He never seems to give up. He just goes and goes and goes. Once in a while he brings a buddy along and I wonder if it is his little squirrel wife and if there are little squirrel kids waiting at home. As I was leaving later that afternoon I saw a group of squirrels playing under the trees by the playground; I smiled at that sight. They found time to stop and play.
Our lives are quite often like that of the foraging squirrel. Constantly working to provide for our families and we wind up feeling as if we were running in circles. At some point we have decided that we must be busy all of the time hurrying from one place to the next barely able to take a break. Somehow we have the notion in our minds that busy is better and that we fill every second of our down time from work with stuff to do. Why is it so difficult to stop and play or simply be still for a while?
What would happen if we stopped once in a while and played; I mean really played with our children (or grandchildren). What would happen if put our work responsibilities aside for a set amount of time each week and simply spent time laughing and playing with our families? As a young girl growing up on a farm I remember going outside to play whether I had someone to play with or not. Living in the country and being the only girl around I did not have a lot of playmates but yet managed to find things to do outside and it was fun. Whether I sat underneath the old weeping willow tree with a book, played on the old creaky swing set or took a ride on my bike I played. Television was watched mostly in the evening and with no cell phones, video games or computers I had no other choice than to create something to do; and I did it.
Work is a necessary part of our lives. We must work in order to provide financial stability for our family and hopefully provide for our future. But play is also an essential element in life as well. In our fast paced world we need to remember that our lifetime is limited and that in order to be completely fulfilled we must do more than work. Much like the little squirrel that fills his days with hunting and storing food he found time to join friends underneath the playground tree and play. Whatever work you do I encourage you to do it well but when work is over I encourage you to take time to play and whatever it is you play, I encourage you to play it well. And somewhere in between work and play, take a break, take a breath and simply be still for a bit…trust me it’s good for the soul.
I am proud to introduce a new column to Madame Deals! I think we all need a touch point a place we can go to be inspired. Karla is my children’s teacher, a good friend, and a person with a heart of gold. I hope that her words will inspire you to do more. We are only as good as the people we surround ourselves with. It is important to listen with your heart and proceed with your eyes open. Enjoy!
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