Our whole group recently had the privilege of spending some time in a neighboring country, part of which included the experience of an elephant ride, a pull in an ox cart, and a peaceful ride down a river on a bamboo raft. (Well, it was peaceful for the first half of the ride until two of the three rafts declared war on each other, and many from our group ended up IN the river.)
We also saw a spectacular elephant show! These elephants were really something to watch! Although at first glance they seem overly big and clumsy, to my amazement they danced to music, played musical instruments, walked on a balance beam that was lifted off the ground, swung hoolahoops, consistently kicked a soccer ball into the goal net, slam-dunked a basketball, and even painted a picture of the landscape surrounding us! All this was quite impressive!
Besides all these amazing acts, there was another one that stood out to me the most. Two elephants demonstated strength and skill in their ability to use their tusks and trunk to stack large logs one on top of another against two supportive stakes sticking up out of the ground and spaced about 10 feet apart from each other. One by one the logs were stacked up. Then the log that was to be placed on the very top gained too much momentum and slipped over the top and fell down the other side!
“Ohhh!” moaned the crowd. We all felt a little bad for the elephants because the last log hadn’t fallen into place as planned.
“Oh well, they did a really good job otherwise. Missing one out of four or five isn’t too bad,” I thought. However, I was truly amazed when the elephants didn’t end there. I watched these two elephants continue to work together to reposition the log and get it into the correct place. One walked around to the other side of the emerging wall, lifted the log, and pushed it sideways back through the space between the two supportive stakes so that it was hanging off the edge at the end of the wall. Meanwhile, the other elephant had moved to stand where the log was hanging off the wall and was ready to push it into place across the top of the stack! Their team work was quite admirable, and our team took notice!
The elephant show was packed with tourists, over 100 people besides us, and they all turned to look at us as we exclaimed over the elephant’s show of teamwork. Apparently they didn’t “get it” as much as we did. To us it wasn’t just a couple of elephants performing a show. It was a clear demonstration of the same type of teamwork we can now see exhibited in our own lives!
We’ve learned a lot about teamwork in these past couple months, specifically that even though it does take WORK in order to work together and even though sometimes it takes EXTRA work when things get a little more compicated, it feels really good when the job gets done!