On a recent visit to the University of Minnesota Arboretum our
family walked the maze with its high walls of shrubs. Bruce and I headed to the overlook as everyone else made their way along the paths. We heard them laughing and calling to each other and once in awhile saw the top of someone's head or Pete's arms thrust up over his head. Such fun!
After making it through the maze, Pete and his Dad re-entered, thinking they knew exactly the right way to go. Everyone else joined us on the observation deck. I had watched the progress of a couple young adults, who more than once were one turn away from the exit, but retreated, thinking they were at a deadend. I motioned to them to keep on going, and as I did so, my daughter said to me, "Some people want to find their own way."
Ouch! When a comment stings, it is usually because what is said is absolutely right.
How often I want to rescue and to offer the benefit of my experience, including lessons learned from going the wrong direction. How often I want to show the way or what I think is the way, but in a maze, as in life, there is usually more than one way.
How different it would have been if the people in the maze had looked up and said, "Help! How do I get out of here?" But even then, instead of saying "Turn right at the corner," the best response may be to say, "You can do it. You can find your way. Just keep going."
When our son Geof was 4 or so, we sometimes took long walks in our neighborhood. After walking for some time and making a number of turns, I said to him, "Now get us home." Sometimes he hesitated when we came to a new intersection, but he figured it out without my help, and we always got home. True, there may have been a shorter or more direct route, but we made it home.
My challenge, and perhaps yours, too, is knowing when to offer help and when to support others as they find their own way.
Our call is to stay in Amaze.
When have you wanted to help, but refrained from doing so, knowing not helping was the better choice? I would love to know.