~This is from an email I received from a friend who received it from the SPD Network. It's a great message! ENJOY!~
Over the years, I have heard numerous versions of a charming but insightful story about a child whose hand became stuck inside a priceless vase. All attempts to remove the little hand proved fruitless, until finally the expensive vase had to be smashed. When the unhurt hand emerged from the shards of pottery, everyone gathered around could see that inside a tiny fist, the child was proudly clutching a one-cent coin! Obviously, the child's desire to hang onto that insignificant coin came at tremendous expense, as the irreplaceable, expensive vase was sacrificed for it.
Do we sometimes hang onto insignificant ideas, feelings, objects, relationships, beliefs, or possessions? At what cost? I'm not talking about the 'big stuff'—our values, ideals, and important relationships, which, like the vase, we would sacrifice only if absolutely necessary (or never). I'm talking about the things that may appear priceless to us, as the penny did to the child, but which have no real value in the greater scheme of things. Sometimes we hold so tightly to petty feelings, grudges, insistence on doing things our own way, our egos, replaceable possessions, 'rights,' and relationships, at tremendous cost to other people, to our ability to be successful, and to our own integrity.
Perhaps we can gain some perspective by asking ourselves, 'Is this like a valuable vase or a one-cent coin?' We might ponder this thought as we enter an IEP meeting, work to determine appropriate discipline for a child, interact with someone who has hurt our feelings, deal with a difficult colleague, or find ourselves participating in a heated discussion.
What is the cost of holding on? Would we damage a relationship, the feelings of another person, an opportunity for employment or progress in the classroom, fora 'one-cent coin?' Do we have a 'mite' which we are holding onto too strongly?
Sometimes opening our tightly clutched hand to examine our penny (our thoughts,beliefs, feelings, ideas, etc.) can save both the penny AND the precious vase! That's the intent of the process of social understanding; to examine all sides of an issue and proceed in a way that is hopefully effective for everyone!
Laurel Hoekman, Executive Director The Gray Center for Social Learning and Understanding www.thegraycenter.