How High Can You Jump

Morning Story and Dilbert

Vintage Dilbert
November 17, 1997

You train fleas by putting them in a jar with a top on it. Fleas jump, so they will jump up and hit the top over and over again. As you watch them jump and hit the top, you will notice something interesting. The fleas continue to jump, but they are no longer jumping high enough to hit the top.

Then, and it’s a matter of record, you can take the top off and though the fleas continue to jump, they won’t jump out of the jar. I repeat, they won’t jump out because they can’t. The reason is simple. They have conditioned themselves to jump just so high. Once they have conditioned themselves to jump just so high, that’s all they can do.

Many times, people do the same thing. They restrict themselves and never reach their potential. Just like the fleas, they fail to jump higher, thinking they are doing all they can do.

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13 comments
  1. Reblogged this on The Mermaid Swims… Strait Way to New and commented:
    God makes weak things STRONG. Hm Saw. Read “How High Can You Jump.” I like this. It reminds me of a blank World Market greeting card that I purchased and gifted to a friend. It reminds me of what is increasingly expected of those meeting the needs of children in the field of education. Benchmarks, bars, objectives, cracking whips, ring masters. Whoa. The memory of the card serves as a reminder that things which are considered “Common” and “Core” are not so easy to reach any more. Even among the wise and “Sage” testing us all. The picture on the card was one of two kids: a couple of litle girls in pink, mini skirts, leggings, glitter, Converse, and Keds. They are FRIENDS jumping “for joy.” The picture of innocense. The picture of the joy of learning, not the pain. Back then, those beginning PLC meetings got me thinking about how much teachers are asked to do. That was years ago. Started thinking, and ten years later I am still “thinking” toward asking “How high?” Got me wanting to try harder in spite of my own limitations. I am a kind of a recovering perfectionist. It has been rough. Even so, I have learned…..I will never be perfect. I learned this mostly at church, and the school of hard knocks. God revealed to me that there is Grace. I used to believe the lie of Perfectionism. I think legislators and some caught in the gears of the education machine still subscribe erroneously to this lie, and in so doing, they perpetuate it to sometimes UGLY ends. Now, I just want to be my best me……me being a recovering perfectionist. You maybe wouldn’t know it these days. I am stuck in a rut. I have tried to adopt new thinking toward redirection though. I am grateful for this journey. The changed thinking helps me to self preserve, survive the “business.” Still, I have kept the sentiment that I CAN do, and be so much more than I think I can be, or even try to be. Most days I leave with a smile in thinking about the kids who are learning right along side me. They make it all worth it.

    Some days I feel like a flea in a crazy academic culture and circus. Boing, boing, boing. Some days I think I am a pretty good performer and comedian. Occassionally, I am effective in delivering instruction, though likely not HIGHLY effective if you are only looking at “scores.” My jumping, well, looses its spring. I do, however, like the smiles I bring to childrens’ faces, and the spark I light in their minds, in my attempts to provide accademic fare. Some days, I miss the mark. Some days…. I feel I am an irritant. Some days…..I just don’t know who, or what I am. Truth is…..I am constrained by the limits of my own erred thinking, reckless speech, actions, or by the misunderstanding, or mistaken thinking owned by others about me. I think I will be in training all of my life. As such, if I could be little more than a flea, I would want to be a flying flea, and jump as high as I can. Reach for the sun, and the stars. Positivity, better choices, and the forgiveness and patience of others is what I pray for. Lots of second, third, fourth…..chances….to risk, and to jump. If I am to be a flea in training…..I don’t want to simply settle for safe, and half way….I want to live fully as I keep trying to fly. Even if it means falling through the air in a tiny flying fox suit, like those base jumper extremists. Pull my chute at just the right moment, gliding to a somewhat softer landing than the last time. As a small flea, I want to live. However, in this attempt, I don’t want to be an irritating pest. Nor do I want to be at the mercy of a scratching dog paw, cat claw. I actually like cats and dogs. Still, I don’t want to be dosed a flea collar, or Hartz drops. I want to be me…..a big hearted, broken, Circus flea jumper. At the same time, if I have rubbed any creature wrong, nipped, or drawn blood….. I am sorry. It was never my intention. I am just trying to understand. I want to learn to love others and do no harm. Boing. Somehow…..there is hope. And we all bounce back. 🙂 Hope and happiness await.

    • We will never be free to experience God’s best for us if we are Christians, until we totally submit to God (James 4:7-8) and allow the Holy Spirit to direct our lives to jump higher than we ever thought possible…

      Ephesians 3:20… Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, (NKJV)

      Blessings in Christ, bruce

  2. That’s really good! So true, too. In psych talk we like to call that learned helplessness.

  3. Gosh! That is scary. And I never thought I’d say this-I even feel sorry for the fleas! I guess though if just one was a slow learner and then by mistake jumped higher again, the others might imitate him and find their freedom. There may be a parable there-who knows?

    • I have thought how the flea that refuses to be taught the learnt helplessness mentioned below; and is slow to learn not to jump too high; could be a parable.
      ” God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong” (1 Corinthians 1:27)
      Just a thought! I think someone also mentions the phrase below!

  4. I relate the story of the fleas to us as Christians living in the flesh. If we would only totally submit our lives to The Lord, the Holy Spirit would help us do over and above all we could ever ask or think in our own feeble mortal minds…

    Ephesians 3:20… Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, (NKJV)

    Blessings in Christ, bruce

  5. As we conform to the image of Christ, may we realize with great rejoicing that we are free of the jar…

  6. MTJames said:

    Now ya done gone and got personal.

  7. Thanks for inspiration, Kenny, to keep jumpin’ higher!

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