In an effort to escape the unflagging summer heat, our family makes a weekly pilgrimage to the beach. This past week our 2 young boys splashed in and out of the cool water lining the lakeshore and dug holes in the sand as I casually reminded them, “don’t drink the water,” and “stop throwing sand,” followed by the empty threat of “or we will leave,” per usual. However, within the familiarity of the day, something extraordinary happened.
Someone’s kid began building an elaborate sand canal equipped with a dam. My kids were intrigued and soon they were in on the action, one digging, the other fetching water. At first, other kids stood back and watched, but one by one they wanted to play too. The momentum was contagious and eventually every kid on the beach was working together.
These kids were of every race, age, gender and, I assume, economic status – but none of them had that on their minds. They all needed one another to work as a team in order to complete their sandy undertaking. It was a perfectly orchestrated collaboration. They listened to one another’s ideas and were eager to help, all while sharing their plastic tools. Once they finished they smiled at each other, beaming with pride over their magnificent creation as their parents praised them with “good job(s),” and “well done(s).”
As I sat in the gritty sand, basking in the sun and the pride of my boys’ contribution, I couldn’t help but see their canal building collaboration as a beautiful analogy of what we need in the current state of our country. As parents we are used to teaching our children, however in this case, perhaps we should take their lead. Our young children understand the simple concept of working together as a means to create something amazing. In this way, they all shared in their success of the creation.
This is a time when our country, state, even our local communities need collaboration from every able bodied person of every color, age, gender and economic status. We need change. We need to bring our tools. We need to listen to each others’ ideas. And above all, we need to be eager to help. If we all work together as a team, perhaps our momentum will be contagious and we can create something magnificent. Something that will have us beaming with pride too, and perhaps our kids will praise us with a “well done” one day.