When I was in first grade my class had an incubator with a chicken egg and we were responsible to keep it warm and watch it hatch. We didn’t really pay much attention to the egg until a crack appeared, then all we wanted to do was make it easier for the baby chick. We were instructed to only watch. I remember feeling so mean as I sat there watching this epic struggle unfold. I remember thinking “how can I be helping this poor little baby by just sitting here” because I knew it would be so easy for me with my big human hands to just go in and crack that sucker open. We all explained this to our teacher, we begged to be allowed to help the chick telling her that “we have to”, “we can’t watch without helping” and we justified our bargaining with needing to feel like a hero, “WE NEED TO SAVE THE CHICK!”
Our teacher, brilliantly intervened and taught me a lesson that has remained with me to this day, the chick needs the struggle. If you remove the struggle you remove the fight that it needs to build up its strength, you have to leave it alone and trust in the natural process. You cannot help it or it will die from weakness. You must allow the chick to fight and struggle and push because that is what makes it strong enough to learn how to live, walk and eat. If you “help it” you will kill it. Hard for a first grader to grasp even harder for adults to grasp when you see your children, lovers, aunts, grandparents and neighbors struggling with a problem that you could easily fix. Getting involved and helping weakens the very person or thing you want to help, bearing witness is heroic, sitting idly by is heroic.
We have our own eggshell moments. We see so clearly from a different vantage point how easy it would be to say here let me just take this burden away from you but I protest that the stumbling block, the mountain of debt, the bad decisions are there to make that person stronger. It is not your job or my job to take away someone else’s struggle it is however my job to show you that you are stronger because of it. I truly believe you are not given anything you cannot handle and what you are given is directly proportionate to how strong you will become. If you are faced with a challenge like breaking free from an “egg” no matter how big, how daunting, how scary or how crazy it is here to teach you just how awesome you will be. If you don’t break through you will never realize your own strength.