All great things begin with a dream, a vision.
When one has a goal in mind and is determined to reach it, nothing can stand in the way. Often, the realization of that dream requires months or even years of dedicated, selfless effort and sacrifice.
What happened this past week made it all worthwhile. I have had moments in my life (once) when I have felt pride of accomplishment but none can possibly compare to how I felt on Tuesday evening.
After years (one hour a week for 10 weeks) of attending class and countless hours of training (we never actually quite got around to that), Malka and I graduated from Obedience School.
I lack the vocabulary to describe the intensity of pride that I felt as I watched Malka receive her certificate and immediately pee on it. I looked over at Gimalle and saw her wiping tears from her cheeks and, truth be known, I wiped a few from my cheeks as well.
Malka, who like Cher, Madonna, Prince and other great women of distinction, goes only by her first name, was class Valedogtorian, an honour earned by her constant ability to redirect the class away from the mundane teachings of the instructors and to focus on far more practical and useful life skills like barking, direction selection (teaching the other dogs that they, not their owners, choose the direction in which they will walk) and come when called (training the owners to understand that after they call the dogs name they are to approach, and stand by their dog until otherwise instructed).
The point of this story is this; we did, in fact, set a goal for Malka and ourselves. The goal was for Malka to learn and respond to certain commands that would make her presence as a family member more enjoyable for all.
We were clear in our goal but, as is the case in life, clarity of the goal is only the first step towards its attainment. The actual achievement of the goal can and will only come from repeatedly doing those things that are essential if we are to reach our goal.
And, like so many times before, I didn’t do what I needed to do for Malka to acquire the behaviours we hoped she would learn.
Every week we were assigned training exercises to be undertaken daily. I was very diligent in following these directions the first week, not so much the second week and by week three Malka’s training was limited to our weekly attendance in class.
I knew what needed to be done to achieve the goal. I just didn’t do it.
And so it is with most of the goals we pursue. We know what to do, we just don’t do it.
Here’s the answer and you may not like it. It’s because, despite everything we may say to the contrary, it’s not important enough. Period.
Till we read again.