My sister, Karen, called the other day to let me know that she and her family had safely returned home from their vacation. They had driven 12 hours to North Carolina beaches looking for a little rest and to take a look at a few colleges along the way for their 17-year-old daughter, Sarah. Karen described an experience they had on the beach that touched her deeply, and it really struck a chord with me too.
As she and her family rode their bikes and walked the shoreline, they noticed turtle nests on the dunes. She was told by beach patrol that the nests housed loggerhead turtle eggs. She was also told that the eggs mostly hatched at night. So, it was a special surprise when, one afternoon, a boy was walking by the nests and saw a baby turtle plow his way out from under the sand and make its way toward the sunshine. The boy watched as the infant struggled to make its long journey from nest to water. What happened next inspired a community of perfect strangers to join together in a common effort and cause. The little boy instinctively watched over the baby, he hovered over it as he followed it across the beach, shielding it from the seagulls who had begun to gather for a potential turtle feast. The little boy chaperoned the turtle all the way across the white sand until it found the water and began to swim.
Within minutes, more turtles hatched. More people flocked to the beach and worked together to guard each and every baby as they made the heroic journey to the sea. Three hours later, more than 100 baby loggerheads had made it safely to the ocean due to the kindness and compassion of roughly 30 beach lovers.
Karen, curious about the nests she had seen earlier in the week, had gone online and discovered all sorts of facts and fascinating things about the turtles.
She learned that...
Loggerhead turtles have existed on Earth for millions of years.
In the summer, the loggerhead sea turtle leaves the water during the night and crawls ashore to lay her eggs in a sandy nest.
The turtle, weighing anywhere from 250 to 400 pounds, digs a nest cavity with her rear flippers then deposits approximately 100 ping-pong ball sized eggs into the chamber. She then covers the eggs with sand and returns to the sea.
In about two months, a cluster of tiny hatchlings emerge from the sand.
A very small percentage of hatchlings survive to maturity.
The hatchlings will return to the same beach later in their life to lay their own eggs.
During the 3-hour turtle adventure, Karen was able to share all the new found knowledge with the other people on the beach. Everyone loved learning the facts about the turtles and marveled in the remarkable journey that was ahead of the babies. This unexpected afternoon adventure unfolded into a day filled with learning, connecting with others, being inspired by nature and self discovery.
You might not have had a turtle adventure, but we all have experiences every day that are filled with valuable and beautiful lessons. It is important for all of us, no matter what age, to keep learning. To learn lessons from traditional schooling is vitally important, as is recognizing and learning from our own life experiences. When we engage in learning every day, we increase our happiness and expand our potential as we continue to grow our spirit and self. I love this quote from the ancient philosopher Confucius—it is a simple reminder that we each have to be fully present and participate so that we may continue to learn:
"What I hear, I forget.
What I see, I remember.
What I do, I understand."
As you go through your day, seek out the lessons and the learning that is part of living. Get your curiosity starting to bubble again, ask questions, wonder, search, seek, discover, uncover and explore. If you have children, make learning a part of every day—not just a school day.