Before I go on, I need to give you some background. We have two dogs, Jackson and Tucker. I'm sure they'll find their way into a few more posts, so I'll just describe Jackson today. First, here's a look at the star of today's show.
|Can you see the ornery look in his eyes?|
|Here he is digging for a stick to chew on in the wood pile on the back porch.|
He's smart. It's like he knows the rules (even though he's a dog), and still chooses to do whatever he wants. I've never met an animal who I think can actually read my mind, but I am pretty certain Jackson can. In fact, I know he can.
He has a softer side, though, too. He has adopted my 2 year old niece as his own child. If she is in the house, he must be beside her. He watches her, protects her, delights in her. She belongs to him...his baby.
This dog, Jackson, who knows his mind, stands up for himself, gets in so much trouble, and loves intensely, has changed in the last few months. He's found his voice.
First, it started with a little bark every once in awhile when he wanted inside. Then it developed into a quiet "growl" (not mean at all, just a "Look at me!" sound) when he wanted you to pet him. It wasn't all the time, but when he did it, it was so cute! Almost like talking!
The "Isn't that cute!" sentiment didn't last long from the humans in the house.
Now, he's out of control. It's like, in his old age, all of a sudden, he knows what he wants and he knows how to get it. Barking! Loudly! Anytime he feels like it!
Today, after being barked at and then stared at intensely until I was uncomfortable, I finally let him out for the millionth time to play in the wintery weather. And then it occurred to me...
He's found his voice. And it works. We listen!
While he was growing up, he knew his own mind and what he wanted, but he wasn't sure how to voice it. The dog-human barrier was just too much for the communication gap that existed.
But, when you think about it, we humans are the same, right? We grow up, knowing what we think and wanting to speak out for what we believe in, but we stay silent, unsure of how we will be viewed and received by our peers.
Like Jackson, though, we slowly find our voices. Maybe it's just a little sound the first time we get the courage, and then later, we get louder! Suddenly, people are listening. To us! It's a wonderful, new feeling...communicating and being understood.
The older I get, the less fearful I am to speak my mind. It's one of the best things about birthdays; we find ourselves more sure of who we are at each turn.
So, to whoever is reading this today, take a little lesson from Jackson and SPEAK! We want to hear your voice; what you say is valuable. All of us in this Slice of Life community--teachers, students, readers, learners--can change the world with our words.
So, friends, remember Jackson, and go find your voices! And don't be surprised when people start listening.