When the boys were growing up and were being affected by what others were saying or doing, I’d repeat our mantra: be a duck.
A duck is designed to float. His feathers repel the water. If he absorbed the water he’d sink. So whenever water gets on him it just beads up and trickles off. He can paddle around all day doing his duck thing and enjoying the pond. Then, when he steps out on dry land, he is barely moist.
Without the ability to repel the water, even waddling down to the bank would be quite dangerous. If he slipped in, he might sit on top for a few seconds, but soon the water would start soaking in and eventually it would take him under.
A sponge, on the other hand, is designed to absorb. You don’t want a sponge that repels water. The goal of being a sponge is taking in all you can until you are saturated. Good sponges soak in what splashes around them.
We can’t stop the messages we hear every day that make us feel inferior, sad or rejected. They may come from a friend being unkind, a magazine telling us a lie about our appearance, a commercial hinting at things a real man should do or memories of things our parents told us growing up. There is no end to the messages, but there is a choice in how we deal with them.
Each statement we hear can either stick or trickle off. If we’re being a sponge, what we hear will absorb. We’ll carry it with us and even take in some more. Soon, we’ll become saturated with these unwanted messages and begin to see ourselves defined by the excess.
If we’re a duck, they’ll puddle up and trickle off. We heard them but refused to allow them to stick. No excess. No absorbing messages. We’re free to paddle on, defined by the joy of being a duck.
Today, I choose to be a duck.