Each spring our daycare celebrates the letter T by holding turtle races. My children are obsessed with these races. They nearly run me off the road every time a turtle is spied along the roadside with their desperate cries of, “Stop, Mommy, we need that turtle. He looks fast.”
We capture multiple turtles each spring. (We “lose” at least 1 each year because someone forgets to put it back in the box or the decorations added to the turtle’s environment provide a perfect escape route.) Our turtles are always returned to the wild after the races are complete, and I like to think they don’t bear too many emotional scars from the affections of my children.
Capturing and caring for the turtles for a day or so before the race offers plenty of lessons in kindness, compassion, and responsibility for my kiddos. They also have a chance to learn about nature and how our choices impact the environments of animals like the turtles. They are very aware and show tremendous consideration for how the turtles feel and towards their return to their natural environment.
Often I feel like one of those box turtles. My surroundings are commandeered by something bigger than myself and I have little or no control of what is going on in my world. Sometimes the box seems way too small for me and other times I am not sure which way is up.
I really, really wish I could have a shell to hide in sometimes too.
Here is the happy part of my box turtle metaphor. I am controlled by someone bigger than myself. Someone who has an infinite understanding of what I am going through and a clear vision of what I am meant to do with my life. He knows what is best for me and will guide me to the ultimate finish line. If I continue to plod along, doing the best I can, I will get where I need to be and accomplish what I am meant to do. My world has been designed with a greater good in mind and provides me with limitless possibilities to live up to my potential.
So my message for all my fellow turtles out there is keep going. Don’t let the smallness of a situation hold you back. Look for those decorative escape routes (like the tree bark in the photo above 🙂 ) or remain steadfast for opportunities that are coming your way. Don’t spend too much time in your shell, you might miss all the world has to offer.
It’s a big box out there, little turtle!
By: Melanie A. Peters