Sunday, April 15, 2012

A Lesson Learned from the Ant

I'm the kind of person who looks at things, events, and other notables, then wonder how it applies to myself. Selfish? Perhaps. But I'm, also, the person actively looking for the lessons in life. 
While helping my students figure out what they are going to place on their vision boards, I flipped a page in a magazine and was drawn to the picture of an ant. There was nothing overtly special about the picture; it was that of a small red ant and I believe there was a phrase below it that read something like this, "To be big, start small" or something like that. I don't remember exactly.
Now the way I teach the students to go on their vision board picture hunt is to cut out anything that touches them in any way, don't think about it, just cut it out. So I quickly extracted this picture of the ant for my demonstration and explained why.
Have you ever watched an ant? I mean, really watched an ant? This tiny, fragile, and, seemingly, expendable creature is actually quite fascinating. One day, I came across an ant struggling up a wall with something for the colony in its grasp. Some mysterious force of wind (me) came and knocked it off the wall, causing the ant to drop its goods. 

Did the ant scurry away, scared of being blindsided by an obstacle? No. It simply picked back up it's package and proceeded to crawl up the wall again. And again, the mysterious force of wind (me) blew it back down. And the ant picked up its package and struggled back up the wall again. And yet again, the wind blew and the ant returned. The next time I blew it down, the ant paused, appeared to consider its situation, wiggled its antennae and, within seconds, a couple of ants showed up and the three of them moved up the wall with their food. I, magnanimously, let them go and put them out of my mind. 

Then, years later, there I was holding up this picture of the ant before my students when that story returned to me as well as the significance behind the moment. The ant demonstrated tenacity, fortitude, persistence, strength, purpose, and, well, faith. No matter that the ant was knocked down time and time again, time and time again the ant rose back up, holding on to its dream food, determined to bring it to its realization destination. Even when all seemed hopeless, the ant called in back up and along came help. 

Something as small as that ant taught me a big lesson-- one I am still trying to learn. This year has been the year of knockdowns. That mysterious force of wind has blown me down over and over again and, emotionally, beat me up. Staying down is so tempting because, if I never get back up, I don't have to feel the hurt of falling down but I've got to be like the ant; I've got to believe in what I'm doing and where I'm going. And, eventually, I will get there. 


Proverbs 6:

6Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise:
7Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler,
8Provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest.
9How long wilt thou sleep, O sluggard? when wilt thou arise out of thy sleep?

Proverbs 30:
24There be four things which are little upon the earth, but they are exceeding wise:
25The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer;
26The conies are but a feeble folk, yet make they their houses in the rocks;
27The locusts have no king, yet go they forth all of them by bands;
28The spider taketh hold with her hands, and is in kings' palaces.

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