Sometimes, it helps to see the world through someone elseís eyes to better live in your own world.
For me, that someone was the Easter Bunny.
Last weekend, I spent some time at an Easter egg hunt at my wifeís employer, where that magical rabbit and I crossed paths. It took a little bit to understand the wonder in what he does.
Take a step back and think about what you know about the Easter Bunny. Chances are you think heís nice, and he gives you candy. But who told you that?
Certainly not the Easter Bunny. He quietly goes about his business, wearing that thick fur even when heís indoors, letting children and adults bounce on and off his lap for pictures. You never hear a peep out of him, although he hands out a lot of Peeps. He doesnít use words at all.
Thatís not to say he canít express himself, unlike that fraud Punxsutawney Phil, who pops out of the same hole every year with the same blank face, somehow qualified to prognosticate on the end of winter.
No, people know the Easter Bunny is there and likable. He waves. He shakes hands. He gives high-fives. Iíve even heard heíll do a little dancing if he thinks it will calm the nerves of an anxious child.
These are all things I just canít imagine doing myself. Iím a word guy, letting the strength of the syllables take care of things. Iím aware when I speak I tend to fall into a bit of a monotone. I know I seldom move my hands or arms when I talk. And quite frankly, I come off a little standoffish, even if thatís not my intent.
I couldnít help but wonder why someone with all that fur can be so expressive, yet most of us canít.
He may have all that fur, but weíre all lugging around some heavy chains. Weíre so convinced the world will laugh at us that we retreat into ourselves. Like turtles, we pull back into our shells. Some will stick their necks out a little farther than others, but we all know we can return to safety at any time.
The Easter Bunny doesnít care what people think of him. Heís self-confident. And people like him.
The lessons of the Easter Bunny resounded later last week. A cold wreaked havoc on my sinuses, and eventually I lost the thrust of my voice. My overpowering dad voice, usually loud enough to cut through any noise, had about as much volume as a cheap MP3 player.
It wasnít an ideal week for that. I was scheduled to talk about media to a group of smart, ambitious teens on Friday. I enjoy talking to them about the value of local media and the importance of knowing who said something before you decide to believe it. I wondered how I could get my message across if they struggled to hear me.
The Easter Bunnyís lessons came to mind: Your message is only as small as you let it be. If you open yourself up and emote, you can still get ideas across. I also channeled a little bit of Dick Vitale, realizing you can yell into a microphone with borderline laryngitis and still be heard tolerably.
I think my message got across. The students seemed to enjoy my spiel as I leaned forward and back for effect, trying to emphasize words and ideas when my voice alone couldnít do the job.
Maybe, just maybe, I took the first step toward breaking out of a self-inflected shell. Maybe, just maybe, Iíve learned that most people want to see you succeed and donít mind if you get a little silly. Maybe, just maybe, itís OK to get to get out of your comfort zone and try something different.
The Easter Bunny taught me all that.
As the cute kids said in those 1984 M&M commercials, ďThank you, Easter Bunny!Ē
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