Everyone’s got his or her favorite zoo animal. For me, it might just be elephants. I love watching them eat, bathe, and play. For all their size and strength, they seem gentle and respectful of others. When I watch them in their enclosures, many seem genuinely inquisitive, as if they’ve never lost their enthusiasm for life.
In the 1941 Walt Disney movie “Dumbo,” a young elephant is ridiculed for his large ears. When his mother Jumbo rises to his defense, she is locked away and declared mad. Yet Dumbo overcomes the obstacles life hurls in his path. He continues to believe in himself, and grasps the opportunities he finds. His persistence pays off: Dumbo becomes the star of the circus, and his mother Jumbo is released from her imprisonment.
Growing up involves learning difficult lessons. Like squatters, the most painful experiences often lodge in our brains. If we allow them to inhibit our actions, they'll limit our future prospects. This weekend, I met a new arrival to the San Diego Safari Park. Her name is Qinisa, and she’s a two-month-old African Elephant. Like Dumbo, her inquisitiveness, playfulness, and exuberance reminds me of how I should approach each day, as well as the opportunities life hands me. When the journey toward adulthood threatens to rob Qinisa of her zest for life, I hope that she, like Dumbo, still believes in her ability to conquer every hardship she encounters. For our lives are what we make them. Every day.
We can all fly.
We can all fly.
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