Lessons from two-year-olds

Bringing a spiritual perspective to daily life

The heat of a summer day called for open windows and curtains. I was editing my script and e-mailing friends. From my room, I saw a pair of two-year-old girls. They were playing on Big Wheel-type racers.

"I won! I won! I won!" cried little Maggie, zooming across the paved pathway to the gate and touching it.

Siena, the neighbor girl, didn't say anything. She just noted what Maggie had yelled. Siena kept going at her own pace. Finally, she arrived at the gate.

"I won! I won!" she yelled as she touched it. Siena had delight in her eyes and a big smile.

I wondered what Maggie would say to Siena. Then I heard it.

"We both won!" she said. And they continued to play and laugh outside in the sun the rest of the afternoon. Instead of one girl crying because she'd lost, in place of jealousy or name-calling, both girls obviously felt satisfied.

I recalled selling World's Finest chocolate bars for a junior high fund-raiser. The only thing I wanted to do was be the top seller. It was me against every other kid. I put my hair in pigtails so I'd look cute, got my selling pitch down to a science, and pounded the streets until it was dark. I was a virtual shark, selling 397 bars in one week. Unfortunately, my archrival's parents worked at Boeing and sold lots of candy bars for her. So I had to work harder.

I risked my life trying to get more sales. One day I climbed two long sets of stairs to knock on a door. No one was home - no one but the two huge Doberman pinschers around back. The dogs barked furiously at me as I flew down the stairs, saying both "God is love" and "Good dogs" simultaneously. I could barely breathe I was so frightened.

Still driven, I went to a couple more houses. Finally, overwhelmed by the adrenaline rush, I ran home. I told my mom what happened, and that I wished I could have sold more candy that night. She comforted me. But she also told me to be careful about being so competitive.

Watching the two little girls, I concluded something: being part of creation is not a competition. We were all made by a God who loves us, wants us, and has a place for us. We're created spiritually - not to compete, but to be complete. Each of us is a perfect unit in God's creation, and we work together to praise Him. We're not in competition with each other. Every unit enhances every other. Without each and every one of us, God wouldn't have a whole expression.

In the many dance, voice, and acting classes I've had, the instructors would say: "Find your own voice, your own gifts and talents. Don't try to sing like Barbra Streisand. The world has the original. Discover the qualities that make you unique, then share them with the world."

So, how do we become the best we can be? Join the Army?

It's a person's spiritual-mindedness that promotes the real success in life. All the money or talent in the world can't buy it, but communing with God, who is the divine Mind, naturally supplies it. "The world would collapse without Mind, without the intelligence which holds the winds in its grasp" (Mary Baker Eddy, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," pg. 209.

Having that Mind means having God - and having spirituality. It lets you beat whatever says you're a loser. Every time we conquer driving pride or insecurity with the conviction that we're as good as God made us to be, we have healings and solve problems and find satisfaction. Satisfaction is spiritual.

Do you want to feel the pressure of competing with zillions of people throughout the ages for things like your name in the school paper or the Most Candy Bars Sold Award? Or do you want to challenge yourself to be the most successful spiritual person you can be?

When you get to the gate, would you rather be scared and breathless, or yell "I won!" with delight?

God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work.

II Corinthians 9:8

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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