The strength is in the struggle

I had the privilege of running a workshop with some wonderful parents on the theme of ‘Perseverance’.  The night before the workshop I came across a blog (it is a great read in full in you click on ‘blog’),that had a fantastic story in it that touched on this topic of perseverance and how difficult it is to sometimes sit and see the struggle, yet know that the struggle is important.  I hope you enjoy the read!

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“From the corner of my eye, I saw several resort employees making their way down toward the surf, carrying a large plastic tub. Curious, I sat up in my chair. Michael, also curious, got up and walked down to where they were, then motioned for me to join him.

Nestled in the plastic tub were about 150 baby sea turtles, newly hatched that afternoon…..

Miniature and geometric, their small shells were a gorgeous pattern of deep tannish greens, tiny tiles set in ornate, exact patterns. The resort employees had set the crate about twenty feet up the beach from the surf, and the baby turtles were already pushing toward the side of the crate that faced the seawater, their sense of the ocean as home already in full operation.

And then, as the sun dropped lower in the sky, one of the resort workers called to me. As I walked toward him, he gestured to the crate and motioned for me to pick up one of those amazingly teensy turtles.

The director of the release program drew a long line in the sand, marking the starting point for the upcoming journey. He explained that the turtles needed to make their own way down to the water, that we were not to carry them to the surf.

Most of us onlookers were standing back, watching the varying levels of success and struggle.

A few of the turtles seemed exhausted, overwhelmed by the challenges of the terrain. Others got turned around, heading away from the sea or scrambling in a parallel line to the water.

We watched, a little worried, until dusk began to settle. Finally, one of the resort guests couldn’t take it anymore. She scooped up one of the stragglers and began to carry him down to the water, unable to bear the uncertainty.

One of the employees in charge of the release called after her, motioning for her to put the turtle down, but her overwhelming concern overshadowed his instructions. As she gently placed the turtle in the shallows, her husband caught up with her and reminded her that she wasn’t supposed to help the turtles.

She, on the other hand, was incredulous that we were allowing these turtles to struggle so mightily. She saw her actions as a kindness.

Unwittingly, though, she was participating in potentially tangling the turtle population in protective bubble wrap.

That trip from the sand to the water? That’s critical turtle training ground. It’s what gives baby turtles a better chance of survival.

The best conditions possible had been created by monitoring the nest and timing the release at sunset when predatory birds and scavengers are not as active.

But once those conditions had been achieved, newly-hatched turtles need the trek to the water to strengthen their flippers, to practice the motion that will be required once they hit the water.

They need the experience of heading accurately toward the shore, even if it takes them a bit to figure it out.

These moments of struggle in the sands of their childhood would serve them well during their next hundred years of survival.

What an overprotective heart saw as too hard or too cruel or too tough is actually exactly what a baby turtle needed to up his chances of survival. To cut the journey short, to abbreviate the endeavor, would make the turtles more vulnerable and com- promise their skills for endurance.

The strength is in the struggle.”

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