Things You Learn From Those You Love

Gilda Radner was a favourite on Saturday Night Live some years back before her life was tragically ended by cancer.  Before she passed on, she wrote a book called It's Always Something.

While I haven't read the book, there is a story in it that has circulated, and I was recently reminded of it again.  As such, I thought I'd share it with you along with the musing that came to me.

Here's the excerpt.  (Dibby was Gilda’s housekeeper):

When I was little, Dibby told me a story about her cousin who had a dog – just a mutt – and the dog was pregnant. I don’t know how long dogs are pregnant, but she was due to have her puppies in about a week. 
She was out in the yard one day and got in the way of the lawnmower and her two back legs got cut off. They rushed her to the vet who said, "I can sew her up, or you can put her to sleep if you want. But the puppies are OK – she’ll be able to deliver the puppies. Dibby’s cousin said, "keep her alive." 
So the vet sewed up her backside and over the next week that dog learned how to walk. She didn’t spend any time worrying; she just learned to walk by taking two steps in the front and flipping up her backside and then taking two more steps and flipping up her backside again. 
She gave birth to six little puppies, all in perfect health. She nursed them and then weaned them. And when they learned to walk, they all walked like her.

This story got me thinking about all the things I learned through my life from those I both love and / or respected.  These were ideas about life that defined it. Things like:

  • What is possible?
  • What hinders me?
  • Who or what has value?
  • What's the most important thing in life?
  • And so on.
These are the things that help you define "normal".

But like these puppies, sometimes our teaching had limitations.

While the mother overcame her adversity and learned to scoot around without hind legs, all her pups has perfectly good hind legs but missed out on the potential of using them, because they got their version of 'normal' from their mom. "They all walked like her".

We should celebrate and respect the legacy we got from our parents, leaders and mentors.  We should also be very cognitive that we are defining normal for those who follow us.

But let's ensure that the constraints of our mentors are not imposed on us to limit our potential.  

Make sure that you are:
  • Willing to have your version of 'normal' questioned.
  • Open to new ideas, (but weigh them against standards of truth)
  • Trying new things constantly to discover your potential.
  • Willing to be taught new skills.
  • Cognitive that you do not impose your constraints on those who follow you.
I think this ties in well with some other posts I've done recently on how we can self-sabotage our potential. Check out the following posts:

Perhaps the 'puppy story' brought out something different for you?  Feel free to share in the comments below.

1 comment:

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