When I was a child at the ripe old age of seven, I had to go one day and get some new shoes. Probably for school. With the help of my mom, I found a great pair of shoes. Then as we checked out, the salesman insisted that I take a balloon. I did not want the balloon.
I did not want a balloon because balloons always broke. It made me sad when they broke. Even then, I knew that taking a balloon would equate to sadness at some soon, but future, point. However, I was encouraged to thank salesman and take the balloon.
I diligently protected the balloon under my overcoat as we walked to my grandparent’s row-house. I made sure the balloon, which came complete with cardboard feet, had a place on an end table where it would not be hurt. And as the night went on, after dinner I wanted to play with the balloon. I did so by pushing it into the air, and then every time it started to fall towards the floor I would tap it with my fingers. It would rise back up a few feet into the air and start the process again. Of course, everybody knows what’s coming up here. In about 15 minutes the balloon popped and with that, started the sadness.
This was not the balloon’s fault that it popped. And just because it popped did not mean I should not have accepted the balloon, because the balloon did bring me joy. Yet, there is a very important lesson between me and the balloon. One that I share today only because it is a good lesson for all of us.
What is the lesson of the balloon you may ask? When you love something, do not hold too tight or it may break. To enjoy a balloon is a great thing. Remember though, the balloon comes with its own needs and circumstances. And, to expect a balloon to be able to thrive outside of its operating parameters is to expect sadness, and sometimes breakage.
People are a lot like balloons. Maybe not quite as fragile, yet you would be surprised. People are also tricky because, in a world of seven billion people, there are actually 7 billion different human operating systems. For in a world of 7 billion, we are all individuals.
This means we have to take care when interacting with other people. We need to know that their parameters are not exactly like ours. They may need, want or desire different things. And, also remember if we hold them to close, care for them too much, or don’t let them breathe in what they need, they, like the balloon may break.