REFLECTION: I recently hosted a play day for two nieces and my grandson. The weather was great, so much of the day was spent exploring the springtime treasures of the backyard. There were twigs to gather, ladybugs to catch, and birds’ nests to investigate. I hung the hammock, and they took turns giving each other rides and picking each other up off the ground.
Eventually attention turned to the fish pond. The threesome was delighted to discover twigs and leaves afloat – and mortified to discover 3 dead goldfish amongst the debris. Fish of a significant size, I might add. One 5 inches long and the others each 3 inches in length.
Reactions were varied. The three year old wanted to know how to make them swim again. (Ignorance is bliss, and hope springs eternal in the mind of an innocent.) The seven year old was highly engaged by the mechanics of the recovery operation (twigs, nets, airlifts, plastic bags). The ten year old fired accusing glances and words my way, “How could you leave them to freeze, Aunt Pat? You have to tell them how sorry you are!”
I was, I admit, filled with R & R – remorse and regret. I’d spent several hours one cold day last October scooping fish out of the pond and moving them into the basement tubs for the winter. I thought we had 15 fish, and I harvested that number. Apparently, they’d multiplied.
In my defense, the three spring floaters were all grey and silver in color – tough to sight in the murky waters – unlike their bright orange and white kin that are much easier to find. And, in October I had gone back out to the pond several times after the water had stilled again, to see if there were any fish that had been left behind. But in the end, I was responsible for their demise. It was a sad moment all round.
ACTION: I’m assuming that you, too, have perhaps experienced an ‘oops’ moment or two in your own life. Many, of course, will be far more significant than the loss of the lives of three small fish.
One of the challenges to avoid in moments of error is that of getting bogged down in remorse and recriminations. Should have. Could have. If only.
In the end, the best lesson in how to handle these experiences came from the three year old. He paid attention to what was happening. He expressed concern about the situation. He wondered how or whether it might be fixed. And, then, assured that nothing could be done except try to do better next time, he picked up a fresh stick and ambled off in new directions. I’m following his lead.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: “Draw a line. Step over it. Move on.” – Rambling Dave Scharf
RESOURCE OF THE WEEK: Check out this article on Dealing With Your Biggest Regret.
READERS WRITE: In response to last week’s message, ‘Making Your Mark‘, Pause reader KE writes: “This is a great newsletter today, Pat. And the thing that struck me the most about it is your ability to notice – really notice – what is happening in an everyday moment, and ponder the wider message / broader learning / or life lesson. You have a real gift for seeing things in a different way.”