I talked with my granddaughters today. Every opportunity I get to talk with them their wisdom about the world around us changes me profoundly. At twelve and nine they never cease to amaze me on how they see the world.
Today we talked about my upcoming visit to see them, and the COVID precautions we would need to have in place. And the fact that I would not be able to hug them. The older sibling stated, “Nana I think what we are supposed to learn during times like these is what human compassion is supposed to look like. Especially when it has been taken away from us.”
Drop the mic! And the nine-year-old followed up with, “Well Nana, maybe we are also supposed to learn about the things we are afraid of, like each other and we’re learning love all over again.”
This is the same kid who at four asked me if any of what she could see was real. When I asked her what she meant, she effortlessly said, “you know Nana this stuff I can see with my eyes…is any of this real!”
I am so proud to be their grandmother. They are so much more connected to the source of all things than many adults.
I thought about their thoughts after we hung up. I sat trying to find an analogy that we as adults could use to see our world and each other, from their simple explanations.
My thoughts turned to a trip I took recently to the Denver Zoo.
I love and hate zoos at the same time. While my human sensibilities understand the need to curate and care for species on our planet, I am at the same time emotionally at a loss to understand their captivity. In a way it is like our own captivity to the things, places and situations that bind us.
While I was at the zoo I watched as a chimpanzee hovered just slightly to the right above a pedestrian walkway on a bamboo rope. As he dangled above the zoo visitors, I wondered why he didn’t just drop down onto the path, or even why he didn’t scramble to the other side where lush green grass and freedom existed outside of his man-made habitat.
With no fencing to stop him, I suspected that he had been conditioned. I likened his response to the use of invisible fencing like that used with dogs. I wondered if he would receive a mild shock of some sort if he went to far across the rope. As I stood pondering that and watching him, he quickly scampered back across the rope to the safety of his habitat and the security of his fellow chimps.
With the many challenges facing us as leaders, as mothers, fathers, grandparents, employers, employees, families and more, I wondered if we have been so conditioned like those chimps, that we simply have forgotten what it means to be curious.
Have we become so conditioned that, like my granddaughter said, we needed something to shake us up, wake us up, and make us keep going across that rope to see what is on the other side? Do we need to rediscover our compassion for our fellow man? Do we need to learn that the things we are so afraid of, like each other, don’t exist on the other side of that bamboo rope?
COVID 19, Protest, Black, Brown, White and on and on. We are being stretched and pushed to rediscover our why. Why are we so afraid to cross that path? Why have we become so afraid of real dialogue? Perhaps, like our chimp friends we need to unlearn to relearn.
Have we all been behind our own invisible fencing that long? Maybe, just maybe the shock we all need to cross to the other side…lies in the challenges we are facing right now. And perhaps, on the other side really is love, compassion, equity, and inclusion for one another.
Perhaps on the other side is the why we have been searching for all along.
Perhaps on the other side…we can find our why.
“And That’s A Brilliant Glimpse of Insight!”