Monday, December 18, 2006

The Merits of Turtles

When you have tons to do, you're probably tempted to move like the hare: Relentlessly fast, followed by periods of total collapse.

Meanwhile, the turtle creeps on steadily, surely, slowly.

Everybody knows the morale: Sure and steady wins the race. I tend to interpret the fable as telling us to be as consistent as a turtle, without the arrogance of the rabbit. But in practice, I try to move at the speed of the rabbit, with the consistency of the turtle.

But isn't that the real point? The rabbit needs to rest because he's running so much. The turtle can keep going because he goes slowly. That's the lesson I should actually be applying to my life.

Did you know that turtles do not age? They sometimes even stop their heart from beating - they just don't need it to race around like we do. What kills turtles isn't cells aging, but disease and predators.

My father likes to say that my mother moves as slow as a turtle, but gets more done than anyone he knows. And it's true. She doesn't rush or hurry, but she's consistent and thorough and she gets tons done every day. She even takes time for an afternoon rest.

This week, I challenge you to summon your inner turtle, particularly with your family. When your toddler wants to stop to examine the frost on the porch, pause with her. Don't hurry your preschooler just because you've got five stores to visit in two hours - instead, find a way to cut back on the stores you'll visit.

Slow down. You might just give yourself and your family the peace we spend so much time talking about during Christmas.

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