Just an hour or so ago I was sitting one of the benches outside, watching an ant struggling mightily to bring a dried up worm back home to his worm wife and little wormlings. The size difference was impressive...that little guy was putting in some serious effort. As I sat there watching him fight to get his prize over the next piece of mulch, I noticed that occasionally the ant would let go and then wander around a bit. I don't know, but it looked liked he was searching out the best route to take...who knows, maybe his jaws just needed a break.
And then I ruined his day.
See, in my infinite wisdom, I thought I'd do the kind thing and remove all of the large chunks of mulch between the ant and his home. No more mountains for chopped wood would mean an easier and fast trip home right? Wrong. I my effort to make his day a little easier, I actually ended up giving him an impossible task.
See...the ant could dig in to the mulch pieces, but the fine stuff underneath was too loose and he just flailed around losing his footing. Eventually he wandered off...and didn't come back. He left his prize there in the mulch.
We do that to each other a lot don't we? As parents, teachers, and friends it's hard to watch people struggle isn't it? So in an effort to help, we remove the struggle.
I tell folks all the time that "struggling means you haven't given up." By removing that obstacle from our students, children, or friends, we're actually taking away an opportunity for them to grow and change into something better. We learn from our struggle and failure much more than we do from our successes.
Maybe I'm a weirdo, but I love watching my little one year-old struggle at home. To see him fail to pick something up a hundred times isn't great, but that one time...the time where he "gets it"...man that's priceless. Don't rob others of those priceless moments.
Don't be so quick to look for someone to get your out of those hard times either. Afterall, you can't forge a blade without a lot of heat and hammering! Embrace the struggle...they never last forever.