Our family just finished a month?s vacation at a cottage in Lac du Bonnet, Manitoba. It was ? unquestionably ? one of our very best family vacations. There are a number of reasons for this (some you can likely guess?we were all more relaxed since we had no schedule what-so-ever, we read more, the only sounds we heard were of the waves from the dock or the wildlife nearby, we had some of the best conversations we have ever had, etc.) One of the big reasons for me was a lesson on ?hope?, courtesy of my son, Max.
The cottage we rented was on a beautiful, large piece of property. One of the wonders Max discovered soon after our arrival was that frogs resided in various points around the property. Max?s older sister, Ali, has always been a skilled frog-catcher. She loves every living creature, and will do what it takes to bond with them (including ? totally grossing out her mother ? jumping in the slimy, muddy, creek to ?fish? for the lovely green slimy hoppers!) Max had not ? up to this point ? been as willing, or as productive, as his sister in this regard. Until just the other day.
We were expecting company for the weekend. Max?s cousins ? who are just 4 and 2 years old ? were coming to hang out with us. Max wanted desperately to be able to impress them with a frog. We arrived at the cottage a couple of days before our company was scheduled to arrive. Max was no sooner out of the car then he was frolicking around the yard looking for frogs.
No luck. Max searched high and low and could not find a single frog. The day our company was expected to arrive, Max arose very early and started to search again. Alas, he found a beauty?who he immediately named ?Harold?. Max brought Harold to the dock where his sister and I lazily read our books. Max was so proud of himself ?look at him , Mom?he?s a beauty?Hazel and Oscar will love him!!!? Max sat down to read his book for awhile, and carefully put Harold (in his plastic glass with water and grass) beside him. A few minutes later Max looked into the glass?and Harold was gone. ?Oh, No!!!!? ?He?s gone!!!? ?I should have had a lid?why did I bring him to the dock?oh, no?I messed up!!!?
Max was bummed. It took him 2 days to find a frog to impress his cousins?now the frog was gone!! I consoled Max as best I could ? ?Harold?s back with his family now?.you?ll find him again when you need to?there are plenty of frogs around?etc.?
Max disappeared. I went looking and found him on the hammock looking very sad indeed. I could see that he was ruminating on how he had ?messed up?. ?How are you doing, Max?? I asked. ?Oh?.I am mad at myself?I messed up?.I should have had a lid on the glass.? Max replied. ?Maybe, Max?but you have to believe that you?ll find another frog. Remember that you searched high and low for 2 days and found Harold. There is another frog out there?don?t give up. If you stay stuck in regret over the past, you won?t be able to see another frog even if it hops right past you.?
I noticed Max was up and searching within a few minutes. Had he continued to beat himself up for the ?mistakes? he made with Harold, had he continued to tell himself (as he had in the past) that he will NEVER find a frog, he will NEVER be as good as his sister) he would not have had the vision he needed to see the 5 frogs he caught while his wee cousins visited us.
I think Max?s experience is a perfect demonstration of the power of hope.
Hope is about believing in a positive outcome, no matter the circumstances. Max changed his negative thinking into positive belief?and he became the frog-catching idol of our cottage!!
Does hope really make a difference? Brain research continues to confirm that hopeful people are better problem solvers. Organizational development approaches, like Appreciative Inquiry, confirm that we get more of ? we grow ? what we focus on. If we focus on possibility and opportunity, that is what we grow?and if we focus on problems and negativity, that is what we grow. If we focus on frogs, that is what we get!!!
Our wilderness adventure at the cottage reminded of this Cherokee parable I heard a few years ago?
The Two Wolves
A Cherokee elder was teaching his grandchildren about life.
He said to them, ?A fight is going on inside me? it is a terrible fight between two wolves.
One wolf represents fear, anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, hatefulness, and lies.
The other stands for joy, peace, love, hope, humbleness, kindness, friendship, generosity, faith, and truth.
This same fight is going on inside of you, and inside every other person, too.?
The children thought about it for a minute. Then one child asked his grandfather,
?Which wolf will win??
The Cherokee elder replied?
?The one you feed.?
I saw this video clip on youtube, showing Frank Sinatra singing High Hopes. It reminded me about how all of us can use a little more hope in our lives. All we have to do is feed the positive belief?and then notice what happens!
Deri Latimer, CSP, is an expert in possibilities for people! She is one of the top 10% of speakers globally who hold the designation of Certified Speaking Professional, the speaking profession?s measure of excellence in professional platform skill. Deri combines a business degree with experience from business sectors including health care, manufacturing, education, government, mining, transportation, tourism, and professional services. Deri impacts individual and organizational performance by applying the latest research and practice in positive psychology, appreciative inquiry, emotional intelligence, and employee engagement.