Life is rich with teaching moments, those seemingly small events that impart something about our world, or more importantly, about ourselves. Teaching moments often come in surprising ways. A friend’s thoughtful gesture reminds us to become more considerate; our response to one spoken word teaches us something about ourselves. It’s important to be on the look-out for these subtle moments; they have the ability to help us grow into better persons.
A few weeks ago I had a wealth of teaching moments from a surprising source. Rick and I drove to Maryland to visit our son, Brendon, and his puppy, Meeple. While visiting, we took numerous walks with Meeple, a one-year-old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. When not walking, we sometimes sat on the sofa with him, petting his soft black fur. During our visit, I became aware of some admirable qualities in Meeple, reminding me of some important life lessons. Here are a few:
- Be curious and aware. The world is full of jewels and Meeple knows that well. He pays attention. A leaf resting on the ground does not go unnoticed. Towering trees are not just to look at but to examine with scrutiny.
- My Learning: Don’t miss out on the world’s treasures! Behold the sparkling morning dew while it lasts and marvel at the orange-rust-red colors of autumn that take your breath away.
- Live in the present. When Meeple naps, he naps well. When he hears a noise, he listens. When he walks, he’s committed to it.
- My Learning: Wherever you are, be there. Whatever work, study, or play you’re doing, do it with full immersion. The present is all we have, and it’s plenty rich for all of us.
- Love extravagantly! Meeple excels at this. One day, after taking him for a stroll, a few of us were walking up the steps to his home to reunite with our son. Meeple was excited about this, but when he saw that I lagged a few steps behind, he turned around, came back down the steps where I stood, and walked me up the stairs. He made sure I was coming!
- My Learning: Greet others with joy. Include everyone. Ask yourself, Who might benefit from a smile, a phone call, or a greeting card today?
What teaching moments have you received from your pet?