We’ve all heard the stories about ostriches hiding their heads in the sand. It’s associated with people trying to avoid dealing with problems by ignoring them. That way, they just hope they’ll go away.
Well, listen to this story and see what you think.
One day a wise older flamingo out for a stroll on a warm summer day happened to walk past an ostrich whose head was obviously buried down a hole in the sand.
“Curious,” thought the flamingo. “Why hide your head in the sand on a beautiful day like today?” So he asked the larger bird that question.
“Excuse me, Ostrich, but why is your head buried down in the sand? It’s a glorious day and the sun is shining, and I even hear other birds singing as they splash around in the water. You’re missing out on all the fun!”
“Fun?” Said the ostrich. “Fun?! How can I have any fun? You don’t know what I’m going through. There’s no fun around me. Everywhere I look there are problems. My family’s a mess. My job doesn’t pay enough. I have bills I can’t begin to pay. There’s no fun in my life! None!”
Puzzled, the flamingo replied, cocking his head at the ostrich, “So what are you trying to accomplish by standing here and sticking your head in the sand? You can’t see anything around you, and I’m even surprised you can hear me speaking to you.”
“Ahhh,” replied the ostrich, “that’s simple. If I can’t see the problems, I can forget they’re there. And they go away. It makes me much happier.”
“But that’s ridiculous,” said the flamingo, “ignoring your problems doesn’t make them go away. They just get worse the longer they’re ignored.”
“But I don’t totally ignore them. I pull my head out of the sand once in awhile. I have to eat and breathe, you know. But the problems are still there. And I really think they’re getting bigger. It’s really much easier to live with my head here in the sand. It’s actually cool here. And quiet.”
The flamingo shook his head. And looked around. He saw sea gulls flying over the water and dipping down every so often to grab a bite to eat. He saw groups of pelicans flying over the waves, obviously with fish in their pouches. He saw sandpipers scurrying across the beach, occasionally dipping their beaks in the sand to pull out a tasty insect.
Some of the birds even came up to the ostrich as if attempting to make friends, and have him pull his head out of the sand. But to no avail.
Once again, the flamingo tried to reason with the ostrich. “Do you hear all of the other birds flying and splashing around? I’m sure they have problems, too, but they’re obviously dealing with them. They don’t have their heads stuck in the sand all day. They’re living their life, making things work. They’re going places. You’re just stuck here, with your head in the sand. You’re going nowhere and accomplishing nothing. Is that fair to your family? Your friends? Are you happy?”
The ostrich pulled his head out for a moment. He looked around, and simply replied. “If I don’t see problems, don’t think about them, or don’t worry about them, they just don’t exist for me. So I’m happy. Why deal with something that upsets me when I can ignore it?”
And he put his head back in the sand.
And the wise older flamingo just looked at him sadly.
“One day,” said the flamingo quietly, shaking his head sadly. “One day you’ll understand. And hopefully it won’t be too late.” And he walked away.
Sometimes it’s a lot easier being an ostrich. It’s sometimes a lot easier to bury your head in the sand and not deal with problems that come up. But they unfortunately don’t go away by doing that. They usually get worse, and actually become so much harder to fix the longer you ignore them.
If you’re like that ostrich and keep burying your head in the sand, you’ll never solve any of your problems. Face them head on. Deal with them. Don’t rely on a friendly flamingo to try and convince you to do the right thing, because flamingos, like people, get tired of giving advice that isn’t acted upon.
What are you hiding from today? And why?
What’s it going to take to face it head on and fix it?
Believe me, you’ll be a lot happier when you do.
P.S. Ostriches don’t really hide their heads in the sand for long periods of time. They couldn’t, or they wouldn’t be able to breathe. Since they lay their eggs in the sand, because they can’t fly into the trees to make their nests, they actually do that to keep their eggs warm. Or they’ll sometimes do it for camouflage because their enemies can mistake that huge body for a big bush and move on. They’re actually very intelligent birds, even though they can’t fly. And they’re a lot more likely to face a problem head-on then run away or hide. Take a moment to read about them. You may be surprised.