Editorials by Robert Kirwan

Life Is Like A Sponge…

It has often been said that a person’s life is the sum total of his/her experiences. On the surface that seems like a simple enough statement, but if one accepts this premise, then why do so many of us engage in practices and activities which are negative and actually hurt us.

Consider the family of five who decided one day to each clean a different area of the home. They each took a sponge, did the cleaning, and then placed the sponges back on the kitchen counter top. The sponges all looked the same. 

Later that day a visitor came along who was curious as to what was cleaned in the home, but couldn’t tell by looking since the sponges all looked the same. So, in order to satisfy his curiosity, he decided to squeeze each sponge to see what came out.

When the first sponge was squeezed, some cola came out, so the visitor decided that someone cleaned the kitchen with that one.

Upon squeezing the second sponge, he found tub and tile cleaner and concluded that this sponge was used to clean the bathtub.

The third sponge produced motor oil when squeezed, so obviously, someone was cleaning the garage.

In the fourth sponge, baby powder came puffing out when it was squeezed, which meant that the baby’s nursery was done with that one.

And finally, in the last one was floor wax, which was used on the hall floor.

As the visitor lay the last sponge down, he again remarked at their similarity. Once again he pointed out that they all look the same until they’re squeezed. It is only when they are squeezed that you can find out where they’ve been and what is inside of them.

People are the same way.

As we encounter the wide variety of events in our journey through life, we too are squeezed, just like the sponge and different things come out. Some people get angry; some seek revenge; some shed tears; some laugh; some look upon life as wonderful; others have a negative view of everything; some show their love for one another; others think only of themselves.

The main lesson here is that as individuals we must all remember that we are no different from a sponge. We can only squeeze out what is put in. As babies, we are born into this world empty. We are like a new sponge. As we go through life, our ‘sponge’ is filled with things that we absorb through experience.

If we look for the good in others and try to carry a positive attitude around with us wherever we go, then as life squeezes us we will have a better chance of coping. If we are constantly finding fault with others and forever look for excuses for our behaviour, when life squeezes us we may not like what comes out.

This is a lesson to which all young parents should pay particular attention. The experiences your children have while they are growing up will determine how they respond to challenges as adults.

Children are like sponges, taking in everything you provide. If you instil positive family values in a child from the time he/she is born, then those values will form part of the child’s personality later on in life. If you show your child how to love, he/she has a better chance of being a loving person. If you demonstrate that you respect all forms of life, so too will your children.

However, if you are disrespectful of authority; show that you don’t care about the quality of your work; and disregard the rights of others, don’t expect your children to be any different.   

When you line people up side by side, they all look similar. Just as it is with the sponges on the kitchen counter, you don’t know where they’ve been until you squeeze them. Once squeezed, the secret is out, and you can rest assured that on the journey of life we will all be squeezed many times. All we can do is make sure that what we put into our life is what we want to come out whenever we are squeezed.



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Valley East Today is published by
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