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The Duck

As we followed the hostess toward our table on the restaurant’s outdoor patio, she turned back to ask the girls if they would like to color. They enthusiastically replied, “Yes! Thank you!” – always appreciative of an opportunity to draw while waiting for their food. The hostess returned with coloring sheets and a pack of crayons. Ella’s coloring page showed a duck holding an umbrella in the rain. Ella began coloring in the duck with blue and red stripes, then added green polka dots, rainbow colored feet and a purple beak.

The hostess walked by again and asked the girls how their coloring was coming along. She paused near Ella, peering over at her colorful drawing and asking about her duck. Ella explained, “It’s not realistic, but I like it.” 

“You’re right,” the hostess agreed. “I’ve never seen those kinds of markings on a duck before!” 

“What?” Ella replied, looking confused. “It’s not the markings. There’s a duck out there that looks this beautiful. I just haven’t seen it… yet.“ She added, “It’s not realistic because the duck is holding an umbrella. And that’s ridiculous.”

Looking across the table at her, I smiled. I felt hopeful, thinking about the fearless and generous imagination it takes to create a duck more brilliant than what her eyes have ever seen – and the steadfast confidence to defend its bold colors as unfamiliar, but never impossible.

…but not a duck holding an umbrella. That’s simply ridiculous.

Author: Alyssa Forcehimes, PhD

An expert in behavior change, substance use disorders and empathic communication, Dr. Alyssa Forcehimes serves as President of The Change Companies® and Train for Change Inc.® She lives in Arizona with her husband and two daughters.