One day my nine-year-old daughter was in her bedroom listening to some questionable music. Walking by her room I asked, “Do you think that music is appropriate to listen to?” “No not really but it has a good beat.” I smelled a teachable moment in the making.
Earlier I had purchased a box of coffee from a local coffeehouse and it was just the prop I needed. I took the box and some colored markers and added the words, “Green Tea with squirrel pee.” After rinsing out the container I filled it with homemade sweet green tea and lemon.
I took a glass to my daughter in her bedroom. The look on her face told me she loved the ice cold mouth watering tea and she quickly emptied the glass.
“Want s’more?” I asked walking down the hallway toward the kitchen. “Uh Huh!” she exclaimed. I took the glass, filled it, returned to her room, and sat on her bed as I handed her the glass. “Wow! You really like this stuff, huh?”
I stifled chuckles as I heard her little bare feet padding down the hallway to the kitchen to look at the container. “Oh wow it really has squirrel pee in it!” “Uh huh,” I said, "absent-mindedly” watching TV and folding clothes.
“It’s really good daddy!” “It’s a very special tea,” I told her. “It’s made with squirrel pee.” “Uh uhhh,” she rebutted. “I’m so glad you like it honey, I don’t do squirrel pee yuck and I’d hate to waste it.” I got up and left her room and went about doing laundry. Trudging back past her bedroom door I hear, “Hey daddy this isn’t really made with squirrel pee.” “Ok,” I say noticing the glass was still pretty full and plopped down on the couch to start folding clothes.
“Dad! It has squirrel pee in it!” “But honey you liked it before I told you it had squirrel pee in it.” “Yeah dad but now that I know…” “Does it taste different or something?” I asked. “Well, no, not really, well maybe. I just don’t like the idea of it. Maybe it’s not safe.” “Aw honey do you think people could get away with selling something if it was not safe?” I asked. (Of course we all know the answer..)
My daughter was silent and looked as if she had been sucking a lemon. “Huh,” I said. “Isn’t that interesting? The idea of drinking squirrel pee was enough to make you not drink it. However, the idea of taking harmful ideas into your mind and spirit didn’t keep you from listening to inappropriate influences for fun, very interesting.” I walked out and back to my housework.
My daughter is a smart introspective child and the point was far from lost on her. Her little head dropped, her brow furrowed as she contemplated the little performance she had inadvertently participated in for the last 30 or so minutes. As I was tucking her in and praying with her at bedtime, she said, “Daddy, I’m gonna try not to drink any more squirrel pee.” I pulled her into my arms holding her and kissing her. “I know you are sweetie, I have confidence in you. Goodnight sweetie.” “Goodnight Daddy.”
Now, many years later when she is going to be outside the locus of my influence I will remind her, “Don’t drink any squirrel pee, ok?” “Ok dad, I won’t.”
Life Lessons For Community and Economic Developers...
It seems such a simple decision in principle, what does it profit a person to gain the whole world and lose one's soul? It is a no brainer, right? However the other side of the coin is something to contemplate; what does it profit a person to gain his soul and lose, business, security, acceptance, safety, one’s bottom line and more?
Even this paradigm is a small cloudy fishbowl albeit to many more black and white than first blush. Does it have to be either or, how much of one’s soul lost is acceptable, and on and on? Integrity doesn’t always seem to pay. Is integrity static or fluid in a post modern world?
More challenges include, immediate gratification vs world peace and the environment, abundance for all vs scarcity, and every person for one’s self or are we truly all one?
Many times one reads that folks make a cost/benefit analysis when compromising, like cheating on a test or lying for gain to be sure this often is the case.
Read HOLONOMICS: BUSINESS WHERE PEOPLE AND PLANET MATTER by co-authors Simon Robinson and Maria Moraes Robinson, an investment strategy for successful, conscious firms.
Honor Incremental Change
Incremental change is a critical component and even principle if you will defining where one goes with one's milieu of life decisions, quality of life, and even one’s business.
Often our choices are far from black and white and involve a little tea and a little pee.
Incremental change in one direction becomes significant change over time. The more one justifies and compromises the easier it is to do.
Interestingly enough, incremental change breaks down when it comes to compromising integrity. There comes a “what’s one more” point.
Check Your AutoCorrect
My daughter says, “Dad, that’s squirrel pee,” and darn, she was right!
Cavana Faithwalker is an Organizational, Community and Personal Empowerment Strategist and Facilitator.
Cavana Faithwalker was born in Cleveland, Ohio. He has a degree in public art marketing and management from Cleveland State University. “So my degree is mix of urban studies, marketing and communications and studio art." Read the rest of Cavana's story here.
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