Today’s Thinking Out Loud reflection is on Aesop’s Fable, The Dog and Sow. Aesop’s Fables is available for free download here.
“A Dog and a Sow were arguing and each claimed that its own young
ones were finer than those of any other animal. “Well,” said the
Sow at last, “mine can see, at any rate, when they come into the
world: but yours are born blind.”
Note: I’ve observed arguments between intelligent people who both claim to be right. I noticed when they were arguing there was plenty of room to compromise, yet they couldn’t. They refused to see where they did agree and only could see where they disagreed. Because of their high intelligence they kept making their point and showing where the other was weaker. And this went on and on. Finally, the meeting would end with nothing resolved; they would pick up where they left off at the next meeting. Does this make sense? It doesn’t to me. Yet it happens all the time. It happens in our relationships and in our work life. When we ask ourselves a better questions such as where we agree, or, how can we move forward and resolve this issue Will lead to better results and more peaceful relationships.
Saint-Exupéry writes that it has been six years since the Little Prince left. He reflects on the Little Prince’s visit. He writes:
Sometimes I say to myself, “Once in a while we are distracted and that’s enough! He forgot, one night, the glass globe, or even the sheep came out silently during the night . . . . “ So the bells drown in tears!
Look at the sky. Ask yourself: “The sheep did or did not eat the flower?” And you will see how everything changes. And no grown up will ever understand that it is so important!
Note: We get so busy with the stuff of our life we forget to be distracted and discover the joys that surround us. The little Prince it’s always nearby, however, when we are too busy with all of our stuff we can’t see the little Prince and enjoy our conversations with him. Here’s hoping you find time in your life each day to be distracted and to discover the little Prince in your life.
Saint-Exupéry writes that the Little Prince is telling the author he is leaving and will return to his planet. The Little Prince tries to console the author.
“At night, you will look at the stars. . . . My star will be one of the stars for you so, you will love to look at all stars. They will all be your friends. And then I will make you a gift . . . You will have stars like no one else has.”
“What do you mean?”
“At night when you look at the sky, as I will live in one of them, then it will be for you as if all stars were laughing. You will have stars that know how to laugh. . . . And when you will be consoled you’ll be glad to have known me. You’ll be my friend forever. You will want to laugh with me. And, sometimes, you will open your window to have fun and your friends will be amazed to see you laughing at the sky.”
Note: We feel a deep sadness when someone we love is about to leave us ,whether it’s moving a long distance away or they are nearing death. The author felt this sadness when the Little Prince was about to leave him. The author knew he had been tamed making the Little Prince’s leaving more difficult. When someone we love leaves us they leave us a gift just as the Little Prince left the gift of laughing to the author. It took me a while to discover the gifts my wife left me when she died, but I discovered them and they were given to me in abundance.
Saint-Exupéry writes in The Little Prince of the Little Prince meeting a fox. The fox asks the Little Prince for a favor that will change both their lives.
The fox was silent and looked a long time at the little Prince: “Please tame me!” It said’
“I want to,” replied the little Prince, “but I don’t have a lot of time. I have friends to find and lots of things to know.”
“We know only the things we tame,” said the fox. “Men do not have more time to know anything. They buy things all made at merchants. But as there is no point of merchants of friends, men do not have friends anymore. If you want a friend, tame me.”
“What should be done?” said the little Prince.
“We need to be very patient,” answered the fox.
Note: We may fall in love at first sight, but we haven’t fallen in love with the person we first saw. We fell in love with an image. Falling in love is a process much like the peeling of layers of an onion. There’s always another layer. With each layer we learn something new about the person with whom we are falling in love. Each day is a new falling in love adventure. There is no steady state. We are either falling in love or falling out of love. Falling in love takes patience and hard work and it is worth the time and the effort.
Creating Meaning in Our Lives
Saint-Exupéry writes in The Little Prince of the Little Prince visiting another planet, this planet was the smallest of all the planets with a lamppost and lamplighter. The Little Prince said:
“Perhaps this man is foolish. However, he is less foolish than the king, than the vainglorious, than the businessman, and then the drinker. At least his work has meaning. When he lights his lamp, it is as if he gave birth to one more star, or to a flower. When he blows out his lamp off, it puts the flower, a star to sleep. It is a very beautiful occupation. It truly is useful since it is beautiful. . . . He is the only one that does not seem ridiculous to me. It is, perhaps, because he takes care of things other than himself.”
NOTE: Forgetting about ourselves and caring more about others creates meaning in our lives. It seems so simple that connecting with others is the pathway to living a full, happy, and meaningful life. We don’t live in silos, we live in communities and communities are made-up of people who are meant to help each other and build the community so it will prosper and thrive. We each have a part to play no matter how big or small in building our community.
It’s Not as Important as Some Think
Saint-Exupéry writes in The Little Prince of the Little Prince visiting another planet, this planet was inhabited by a businessman. The businessman tells the Little Prince he owns the stars.
“And what is the purpose of owning the stars?” [asks the Little Prince].
“My purpose is to be rich.”
“And what is the purpose of being rich?
“To buy other stars if someone finds.
“That one, the little Prince said to himself, he thinks a little like my drunk man.”
NOTE: The things that money can buy can often bring us great joy. When money becomes our total pursuit and the possession of material things our primary goals we miss so much. We miss the joy of living and experiencing all that life can bring. We miss the relationships and joy that relationships can bring to us. We miss the joy of family life. All because we allowed ourselves to be become blinded by the illusion that things bring us happiness.
Make Your Partner Feel Special
One easy way to make the person in our relationships feel good is to give him/her our full attention. Make them feel that he/she is an important part of our lives. When our social media is more important than the person sitting next to us, we send a signal . When we take a sincere interest in them and what they have to say, we also send a signal. When are partner feels good that’s a good sign that we also feel good.
Who am I Really Judging?
Saint-Exupéry writes in The Little Prince of the Little Prince leaving his planet and visiting another planet governed by a king. The king makes the Little Prince the minister of justice. “Ah! But I have seen, said the little Prince who bent over to take a look at the other side of the planet. There is nobody there either.”
“So you will judge yourself, the king answered. It is the most difficult it is much more difficult to judge oneself than to judge others. If you succeed to judge yourself well, you are a truly wise man.”
NOTE: How easy it is for us to judge other people. We see this in social media. We see this on the news shows. We see it on sports broadcasts. We hear it on politically slanted podcasts. People are paid to judge other people. No one is paid to judge him or herself. When we look at ourselves in the clear light of day we may see things that we do not like. Often we will project what we don’t like in ourselves on others. It’s ironic that when we judge others we are often judging ourselves.
Three Power-filled Word: I Love You
Saint-Exupéry in writes in The Little Prince of the Little Prince leaving his planet and flower, “’Goodbye’, he said to the flower. But it did not answer him. ‘Goodbye’, he repeated. The flower coughed but it was not because of his cold. ‘I was a fool,’ it finally said. ‘Excuse me try to be happy.’ He was surprised by the absence of reproaches. He just stood there all bewildered, the glass case in the air. He did not understand this quiet sweetness. ‘But yes, I love you,’ said the flower. ‘You did not know, my fault. This has no importance. But you have been as stupid as me.”
NOTE: Three words, I love you may be the most difficult words for a human being to say. I know someone very well who, as a young child, stopped telling his father that he loved him. It wasn’t because he didn’t love him, it was because it wasn’t said. One day this person was inspired by a sermon at his church and he decided to call his father that night and tell him he loved him. After talking to his father for 45 minutes, he finally had the courage to say I love you. And he said it every time he spoke to his father and it made all the difference for him and his father. Have the courage to say I love you. You never know it may be returned to you. In any event, you will have made the world a little bit better because you had the courage to say I love you.