Silly Putty

Do you remember playing with Silly Putty as a child?  Though it was one of the toys my parents hated most, it was one that I remember loving.  It bounced, it stretched, it moulded, it even copied newsprint… that’s some amazing stuff!  I was thinking last night that to varying degrees, we are all like Silly Putty.  Consider the following:

We all can be pressed and formed into different “shapes”.  Now, whether this is good or bad is not the point of this observation.  I think we’d all agree that sometimes we’re pressed into shapes that are good and fitting, and other times those shapes are, shall we say, unflattering and unattractive.  The shape that we become is more a function of how we respond to the environment that is pressing on us rather than strictly the environment itself… in a word, adaptability

Second, and somewhat related to adaptability, is the ability to stretch.  Silly Putty stretches.  And stretches.  And stretches.  And just when you think it’s going to break, it stretches some more.  Kind of like people.  Many adults think that learning new things is for kids.  They are so wrong.  The best way to keep you mind fresh and active is to learn.  Often, as an adult, that learning involves a great deal of stretching.  This stretching isn’t always fun or comfortable, but in the long run it is definately “worth it”. 

Moving on… Silly Putty has the amazing ability to bounce.  My brother and I used to see who could get their putty to bounce higher.  Of course, he always won.  The fact is that we all have the ability to bounce back from adversity in our lives.  Granted, we all bounce back in different ways, and at different rates.  But, the important thing is that we do bounce back.

Lastly, if you press Silly Putty onto a page of newsprint, the ink will stamp into the putty and can be read (backwards, but read nonetheless).  Now, the bad thing is that the newsprint never really comes out of the putty, but rather gets “worked in” and changes the pure pink to an inky-pink.  Right now you’re wondering, “What’s the big deal about newsprint on my fingers?  I know how to wash my hands.”  Well, I’ll tell you. 

We all collect and absorb what’s pressed onto us, for better or worse.    If  what is pressed onto us is valid criticism and we take it to heart, that’s a great thing!  It makes us into better people!  In my case, it often makes me a better parent and a better wife! 

However, if what’s pressed into us is not valid criticism, it is still absorbed and “worked in” over time.  Though we may know in our heads that those criticisms aren’t true, our hearts often tell us otherwise.  Sometimes, we even repeat those criticisms in the form of self-depreciating humor.  I catch myself doing this more often than I’d like

For instance, just last night I compared my singing voice to a scalded cat.  Now, my brain knows otherwise.  Granted, I’m not coming to an American Idol near you any time soon.  But, I don’t sound like a cat (scalded or otherwise).  But, like that Silly Putty, over time I’ve absorbed various criticisms that have discolored my thinking.  It’s up to me to use that amazing ability to bounce back to overcome that invalid criticism whenever it rears it’s ugly, inky little head.


~ by pe2nia1 on March 23, 2011.

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