Easy Isn’t Always Easy

There are some kid movies, shows and books that I am grateful for. They have taught us good lessons or given us the opportunity to discuss important topics like sharing, respect, responsibility, bullying, etc. One such movie is Pixar’s Finding Dory.

FINDING_DORY_-_Key_ArtThere are lots of great moments in this movie and I genuinely still laugh at parts after watching it close to a dozen times. For those that don’t know, Finding Dory is the sequel to Finding Nemo. In Finding Dory, Dory, a blue tang fish who suffers from short-term memory loss, begins to recall memories of her parents and goes on a wild adventure to find them. One of the key points of the movie is that if Dory is left alone she will begin to forget where she was going, what she was doing or what she was thinking about.

Toward the climax of the movie Dory must venture through the pipes of an aquarium on her own. The dialogue between Dory and a crab giving her directions is as follows:

Female Crab: Don’t worry, it’s easy to get to quarantine. You can just go through the pipes, honey.

Dory: Oh. Oh I can’t do that.

Female Crab: Why not?

Dory: I’ll forget where I’m going. And I can’t be somewhere where I have nobody to help me.

Bill: Well, then I guess you’re stuck here.

Female Crab: You’re not helping, Bill. Just go in there if you want to. You’ll be fine.

Dory: Oh boy. Could you tell me how to get there? Through the pipes?

Female Crab: Sure, honey. It’s two lefts and then a right. Simple.

http://findingdory.wikia.com/wiki/Finding_Dory/Transcript

What I want to highlight is the way the female crab speaks to Dory. Twice she mentions how “easy” and “simple” it is to get to quarantine through the pipes. And for her, I’m sure it would be. But not for Dory.

Dory even explains to the crab that she “can’t be somewhere where I have nobody to help me.” Yet still the crab insists that Dory can do it on her own.

This scene has opened my eyes to three different situations in my life where I need to be less like the crab.

First, in homeschooling. With now four kids, it is very tempting to set John or Rosie up with a math or handwriting page, say something to the effect of “it’s easy, I know you can do it. I’m going to go change Clare/Eliza, feed Clare/Eliza, move the laundry that’s been sitting since yesterday/pour some more coffee/etc. and I’ll be back to check on you.” Tempting yes. Effective and fruitful teaching method – definitely not. What they are learning might be simple to me now but at one time they were hard. Right now, even if the content is something they know, the ability to stay focused and work diligently is something they are only just beginning to learn. They need someone to walk with with, even if it does take all morning. There are times of course when they do have to go it alone. The needs of the little ones must be met. But does the laundry need to be moved during math problems? No.

Second, this scene has made me much more aware of judgmental thoughts directed at others. Again, what might be easy for me may not be for others. It is not fair to impose what I have been blessed with on others. No one appreciates it when we are thrown into a situation we aren’t confident in and are expected to perform at a level we are unable to. We do this in the workplace, in our neighborhood and in our homes. It’s not fair nor is is considerate of the diversity inherent to our species.

Third, I believe that personally and all of us collectively need to work on becoming better listeners. Look at how Dory explains why she will have difficulty following the crab’s directions. An obvious answer to Dory’s concerns would have been to offer to go with her. But neither crab offers. Instead the female crab insists that Dory will be fine even though we all know she won’t. Neither crab listened well. 

Consider the daily interactions we have with people. We are almost programed to have the following exchanges with others:

“Hi, how are you?” “Good, how are you?”

or “Thanks, have a nice day.” “Thanks, you too!”

The other day I was going through the gate to get onto base. At every base, you must show identification to ensure you are able to enter. The typical exchange I have is:

“Hello Ma’am” [pass my ID] “Hello.” [pass my ID back] “Thanks, have a good day.” “Thanks, you too.”

Except this time, instead of wishing me a good day, the guard said something to the effect of “Thanks, you can head on through.” Instead of just saying “Thank you” I, who did not listen well and assumed what I would be told, awkwardly said “Thanks, you too.”

We need to listen, not assume.

I have had some great conversations with John and Rosie about this scene.

Thanks Finding Dory!

Hast Thou No Wound, No Scar

Hast Thou No Scar 

by Amy Carmichael

Hast thou no scar?
No hidden scar on foot, or side, or hand?
I hear thee sung as mighty in the land,
I hear them hail thy bright ascendant star,
Hast thou no scar?

Hast thou no wound?
Yet, I was wounded by the archers, spent.
Leaned me against the tree to die, and rent
By ravening beasts that compassed me, I swooned:
Hast thou no wound?

No wound? No scar?
Yet as the Master shall the servant be,
And pierced are the feet that follow Me;
But thine are whole. Can he have followed far
Who has no wound nor scar?

A Word on Thinning

I love the idea of a garden. I get excited about watching plants grow, finding new blooms and picking fresh vegetables. I am so thankful that my father-in-law helped us move into our new home here in Del Rio, TX. He is a master gardener in my opinion. He has a huge, ambitious garden at home and when he saw what we had to work with here there was no stopping him (thank goodness!). Thanks to his efforts, we have tomatoes, onions, green peppers, squash, 2 kinds of cucumbers, green beans and even cantaloupe all starting to grow. We also have sunflowers, zinnias, some mint and basil (though the parsley, thyme and chives that I planted after he left didn’t sprout, we will try again this week).

It’s amazing! The kids are so excited to help. They like to water and John is starting to notice the differences in the different plants. I love how our homeschool “classroom” has just gained a whole new learning environment right in our own backyard.

There is a part of gardening I’m not a huge fan of. Thinning. Thinning is the process where you select the best plants and pull the rest so that those chosen few have the opportunity to flourish to the best of their ability. I look down at our little row of green pepper plants, 15 at least, so full of promise and have to choose at most probably 4 plants that will make it to maturity.

Sometimes the choice is a little easier. This one is smaller than the others, or this one’s leaves are yellowing. But what do you do when you have two or three plants all clustered together and still growing fine. You know that if left alone, eventually the group as a whole will stunt because there isn’t enough space or nutrients to sustain them all. But how do you choose which one to keep!?! It’s a bit silly, I know. Getting all emotionally worked up over a couple plants.

It’s a little like life. At a certain point we need to make choices, we have to thin our lives, so that 1. we don’t go insane, but also 2. so that we can allow ourselves to flourish. When I first started this post I was thinking specifically about our kids and recognizing the fact that though I would love for them to do everything, I also don’t want them to be overwhelmed and overcommitted. Scouts, baseball, piano, swim lessons, gymnastics, dance, soccer, playgroups, storytime, not to mention homeschool. So many wonderful things! We have to make choices, for our sanity and happiness and most especially for theirs.

I am finding that I also need to make some choices, do some thinning as it were, in my own life. There simply aren’t enough hours in the day. Reading, writing, trying to become a better seamstress, cross stitch, baking, crochet, a new desire to learn embroidery, cooking, researching, knitting, and oh wait, I have a husband and 4 children and a home to maintain. So many wonderful things! I can’t do them all at once, I have to make choices.

I think I’ve come up with a system. Recently I shared about how maintaining a planner has greatly improved my organization, both for our family and maintaining our home. It’s going really really well by the way. I’ll have to do a follow-up post sometime in the near future. I think I’m going to put it to work in this area as well. First, I am going to choose three things that are priorities, things that I want to be doing and thinking about all the time.

  1. Reading
  2. Writing
  3. Researching (I have this crazy notion I’m supposed to be working on a book/study/something longer than a series of blog posts. Topic TBD almost, it’s narrowed down to a few ideas, I’ll keep you posted)

Then, on a rotating basis of weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly I haven’t decided yet, I will rotate my crafting. I’m leaning towards bi-weekly. Long enough to get some good work done but not so long that it will be hard to pull away to transition to something else. This is usually how I work anyway. I obsess over one thing for a while, then get tired and move on to something else. Now I’m going to harness that tendency and focus it instead of just flitting from one thing to another like I used to do.

Here’s to hoping, organizing and thinning!

As we enter Holy Week this week, this seems an appropriate topic. What in our life is taking too much of our time? What are we spending too much time thinking about or worrying about? What needs reordering, what should we be prioritizing?

Daily Graces. kktaliaferro.wordpress.com