Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Giraffes Fall Into the World

You can learn a lot from the Internet. Unfortunately, you don’t really need to know a lot of the things you can learn. For example, did you know that giraffes give birth while standing up? Does it matter?

It matters if you’re a baby giraffe. As soon as they are born baby giraffes are dropped six feet on to the hard ground. The first thing a giraffe learns is that this is a tough world. Humans don’t get this kind of rude introduction to life. The first thing we experience is the comforting arms of a loving mother.

We have to learn the things a giraffe knows from that first bounce on the hard ground. It is a hard and unforgiving world, and there is nothing we can do about it. We learn it one day at a time, in dozens of small disappointments.

There is the first day of kindergarten, when our mother is not there to kiss our bumps away. There is the first time we fall in love, and the first time we are rejected. There is college and no one telling us it is time to go to bed. There is the first time we pay our own bills from what we earn.

Giraffes pass all those milestones in that first six-foot fall. Momma giraffes don’t abandon their young. They feed and protect their newborns, stand ready to fight off predators. They can’t protect them from everything. In that first hard jolt of birth the little giraffes are on their own.

Parents want to protect their children from harm. They must decide how much protection is too much. Children have to learn to live in a dangerous world. They will certainly be knocked down by events they can’t control. Too much protection now will leave them unprepared for the dangers that lie ahead.

Sometimes it doesn’t matter why we are knocked down by this hard world. It just happens, it is part of being born. We have to get through them to reach the happy days beyond. Even a baby giraffe knows that the hard falls don’t go on forever.

Life is good, but sometimes you have to take a few tumbles to get to the good part.

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