From time to time, we all get discouraged. We face difficult situations that make us want to give up and not do our best any longer! However, that is no real solution. Even if we give up, we will then have a whole new set of challenges to face. No longer will we be living a proactive life, but rather a reactive one. It really is not a good idea to quit; it is much better to keep going. Sometimes though, we need something to give us a jolt and get us going again. Sometimes we just need a good “kick in the seat of the pants” to get us going in the right direction!
Have you ever heard someone say that an engine needs a “kick start”? That is an old expression that simply means the engine needs an additional spark to get it going. That is what I am talking about in this particular Tip.
It is my understanding that only a few creatures in the animal kingdom give birth while standing and one of them is the giraffe. When a cow or a horse, for example, gets ready to give birth, it will lie down to deliver its offspring. Surprisingly, the giraffe chooses to remain standing while birthing its young. I say surprising because from the birth canal to the ground is a drop of approximately eight or nine feet! What an abrupt way to enter the world! Wham!
To make matters worse, within a few minutes after giving birth, the mother giraffe will turn and begin to nudge the baby to get up. Because the baby has such long, wobbly legs, it is very difficult for the little giraffe to get up quickly. The mother will continue to nudge the baby, while she licks and cleans it, until it breathes its first breath of life and is standing to its feet.
If the baby does not respond and get up quickly enough, the mother giraffe goes into action. Rather than nudging and licking the baby any longer, she kicks the baby as hard as she can! I can imagine the baby giraffe is wondering, “What in the world is going on?! My mother just dropped me on my head and now she’s kicking me!” If the young animal still does not get up quickly, “Mother Giraffe” will kick it again and she will continue to do so until it finally gets up and begins to walk. You see, Mother Giraffe is very smart. She knows that the smell of blood is in the air and that if the newborn does not get up and begin to walk soon, her baby may end up being dinner for some hungry wild beast.
The first time I heard that story I couldn’t help but think that nature truly is so inspiring. How does the giraffe know how to do that? I certainly believe it was part of the Creator’s plan to teach all of the animals how they are supposed to take care of their young. The giraffe is the one that I think amazes me most.
Now, if you and I were watching this process, we would probably believe that the mother was being mean or unkind. Yet, because of the nature and design of the giraffe, she knows what she has to do in order to make her baby walk as quickly as possible. There is no meanness or unkindness in her actions. It is what she instinctively knows she must do to preserve the life of her offspring. She is not afraid of being politically incorrect. She does not care what any other animal thinks of her. Her only desire is that her baby is safe and able to lead a healthy, productive life.
The more I think about this, the more I realize that this is how life works for all of us. Life can be a very difficult teacher! If we don’t learn the lessons it has for us, it will likely give us a hard kick. Sometimes it will be a gentle nudge, but other times it is a harsh kick right in the teeth! If we don’t pay attention or respond as we should, we may get kicked many times in order to wake up to reality.
Now, I am not suggesting that we should physically beat up our children, family members or co-workers in order to make them do the right thing. I certainly think we should operate out of compassion rather than meanness. But, I think the giraffe demonstrates how compassion comes in many different forms. Just like Mother Giraffe, life teaches us that it is important to be motivated to get going in the right direction.
I don’t know about you, but I can honestly say that I have had a few good “kick in the seat of the pants” events to happen in my life and I am always better off for the experience! I want to be alert to the lessons that life has to offer me and not miss even one of them. In a word, I want my life to have meaning and purpose!
The next time you go to the zoo, spend a little extra time observing the giraffe. It is an amazing creature and it teaches us one of the greatest lessons that life has to offer. I am grateful for the difficult kicks I have had in my life because they have done more to help me learn and grow than I would have done otherwise. The old saying really is true, “What doesn’t kill you makes you better.” Maybe that originated with the giraffe!
Tip: Maybe we all just need a good “kick in the seat of the pants”!
Have a great week! God bless you!
Dr. Robert A. Rohm