Why We Cheer for the Tortoise?
Slow and Steady Wins the Race!
Karen and Jay share thoughts on perseverance, and our universal ‘love for the underdog’ – who marches onward despite the odds.
‘The Tortoise and the Hare’ – Do you remember that great story – possibly from your childhood? The slow, plodding tortoise racing against the speedy hare or rabbit? From the outset we all know that the tortoise has barely a chance of winning. Yet, for some reason, we all cheer for him anyway. Why is that? What is it in our nature and in our being that makes us feel that cheering for the tortoise is simply the right thing to do?
One of the elements must be our empathy. We relate to the plight of the tortoise – fighting against the odds. We all do have a soft spot somewhere in our hearts for the underdog? On a slightly different tack, I think we also admire the tortoise’s work ethic – consistently plodding forward step after step – despite the obvious challenge. Which speaks to a certain perseverance – another quality we admire. Where of course, there wouldn’t be perseverance if there were no faith. We resonate with the tortoise in his ’belief.’ He believes in himself, in his cause – he perseveres and has faith in the outcome.
These are some of the threads – but curiously, why do ‘you’ cheer for the tortoise? To figure this out, let’s go back to the story you first heard as a child, The Tortoise and The Hare. It’s a fable almost as old as time itself, originally authored by the ancient Greek storyteller Aesop. It’s been retold and adapted throughout history, with good reason too as the moral of the story has some important lessons that to this day have incredible relevance. In case you need a refresher, the story goes a little something like this. One day, a quick moving hare arrogantly made the claim that he was the fastest creature around, while also making fun of a tortoise for how slow he moved. Fed up with the constant ridicule, the tortoise challenged the hare to a race, to which the hare confidently agreed. As the race begins, the hare jumps out to a significant lead, so much so that he decides to take a nap. Meanwhile, the tortoise and challenger, continues to move at his slow, yet steady pace. Eventually he passes the sleeping hare and crosses the finish line as the winner.
Traditionally, the moral of the story has been “slow and steady wins the race.” How that can be applied to our own lives varies depending on who you talk to. The truth is, we all move at different speeds and have different strengths, which leads us to look for lessons in fables such as the tortoise and the hare in different ways. When we look at the story through a Sunshine Initiative lens, we find it relates to many of our previous Sunshine Reports. Specifically, we explain that if you believe strongly enough in an outcome, then apply yourself – taking enthusiastic action – then anything is possible.
When we analyze this story, we typically tend to look at the mistake and arrogance of the rabbit while hardly ever recognizing the determination and perseverance of the tortoise. And so, while “Slow and Steady” may be what we believe is the moral of the story at first glance, when we go just a little deeper, there’s even more to take away.
While the hare behaved arrogantly and impulsively, the tortoise was methodical, maintaining a pace that was sustainable for himself and acutely focused on his goal of winning the race. His actions were goal-oriented and long-term, the opposite of the hare, with the result speaking for itself. The moral being this: when we work towards our goals at a pace, we know is best suited for us, even in the face of challenges including others who put us down or don't believe in us, we can still achieve the outcomes we aspire to. When we act on principle rather than impulse, we’re more likely to reach our goals.
Sometimes, it's the simplest stories that hold the most important lessons. So, this fable most of us probably first heard as a bedtime story, or in an elementary room classroom has applications well into our adult years. It speaks to the universality of life’s experiences and that if we create space in our lives and take the time to sit with lessons we’ve been taught, even the simplest ones, there are immense benefits to be gained. So regardless of whether you find more of a connection with the hare, or with the tortoise, there’s a positive lesson to be found, it's just waiting for you to act on it.
Famous People Summering in NH
It’s summertime in New Hampshire! With the mild weather and beautiful lakes, mountains and more, it is the perfect place to enjoy the summer. In fact, for over 100 years, visitors have come to New Hampshire to escape the heat and busy-ness of crowds in the metropolitan areas to our south.
For instance, in the early 1900’s, an interesting group of people came to New Hampshire specifically to express art and commune with other artists. In Peterborough, composer Edward MacDowell (considered one of America’s first great composers) and his wife Marian would visit their summer residence to be inspired by the beautiful landscape. Unfortunately, in 1908, the composer fell ill and passed away; however, one of his dying wishes was that Marian would start an artist enclave called the “MacDowell Colony,” where artists could spend a wonderful summer expressing art in the same creative environment in which her late husband had thrived. Almost 8,600 artists have since visited, including Thornton Wilder who, in 1910, wrote his famous three-act play “Our Town,” which portrays small-town life in fictional Grover’s Corners New Hampshire – believed by many to be a depiction of the small New Hampshire town of Peterborough.
But it’s not only art that has drawn people to the Granite State. Others have visited New Hampshire to enjoy the many varied summer camps scattered all over the state. After World War I, a notable quartet made their way to New Hampshire to spend time roughing it near Lake Winnipesaukee. The men: automaker Henry Ford, inventor Thomas Edison, naturalist John Burroughs, and tiremaker Harvey Firestone, called themselves “The Vagabonds.” This expedition happened far before recreational vehicles were popular to aid in summertime excursions. During their time together in New Hampshire, they became very close friends. In fact, so much so that when Thomas Edison died in 1931, his son sent a test tube sealed with wax to Henry Ford that contained Thomas Edison's very last breath.
To this day, there’s a very good chance you will run into someone famous who is spending their summers in our wonderful state. Some of these in the recent past have included night show host Jimmy Fallon, actress Drew Barrymore, and actor Matt Damon enjoying all that New Hampshire has to offer. So, as you are walking down the street in New Hampshire this summer – whether you are in a small town, village or on a city street, keep an eye out. There may well be a celebrity right around the corner – enjoying all that New Hampshire has to offer.
NH Craft Breweries Keep NH “Hopping”
NH truly is a ‘do-it-yourself’ state. We pride ourselves on our creativity, ingenuity, and self-reliance. In a previous edition of the Sunshine Report, we touched upon maple syrup production and Maple Week during the winter months. But on the flip side, and actually all year-round, is the rapid growth of craft breweries in the 603.
In less than three years their number in the Granite State has doubled. Today, there are over 90 craft breweries that have helped create 4,500 jobs and produce nearly 120,000 barrels of amazing beers. With an economic impact of over half a billion dollars, this industry is rising to the occasion – really making a difference in the state.
But it's not just the economics, it's what these breweries are doing for their communities to make a positive difference that is so worthwhile!
Breweries partner with nonprofits to help support endeavors and initiatives as well as events and celebrations. During the bicentennial of the New Hampshire State House, my good friend Dave Currier, a former legislator himself worked with members of the bicentennial committee to craft a limited-edition brew. Breweries have opened their doors to support good causes and host community gatherings to promote the arts, culture, and music. In this week’s edition of the Sunshine Report, we are promoting ‘Swim with a Mission’s’ festival in Manchester. Pipe Dream Brewery in Londonderry has hosted several nights in support of this veteran support organization while dedicating the proceeds of each sale. Truly philanthropic and community-minded, now that's the ingredients for real success.
So, please support your local brewery like they support our communities. In fact, this Saturday the New Hampshire Brewers’ Association is hosting their Annual Keep NH Brewing Festival at the Everett Arena in Concord. This day-long event will feature over 130 craft beers and promote the industry and its mission. Learn more at www.nhbrewers.org to get your tickets.
Positive Profile of the Week: Rep. Laura Pantelakos
We are delighted this week to highlight a true leader in our State – Representative Laura Pantelakos.
First elected in 1978 (that’s not a typo), Rep. Laura Pantelakos has diligently served her constituents from Portsmouth for over 44 years as a State Representative. This makes her the ‘Dean of the New Hampshire House’ - being the longest currently serving member. Over the years Laura has worked diligently and tirelessly to get things done and is famous for being able to build bridges between parties and is widely respected for always putting people before politics.
Laura may well be the perfect embodiment of what it means to be a State Representative in New Hampshire. She has worked as a waitress, and she has 8 children, 17 grandchildren, and 12 great grandchildren. This has undoubtedly guided her thinking and given her deep insight into what it means to vote for the future. She holds herself accountable to the people she represents and over the last 20 years has raised a grand total of $0.00 (that’s not a typo either!) for her election campaigns, while still easily defeating challenges in primaries and general elections.
Sadly, this was Laura’s last term as a State Representative. It is a true loss for the House as it is losing one of its most effective and humble members. To celebrate her legacy in the House, the Speaker invited Laura to the Speaker’s podium to preside over the House for a few bills, a recognition of her service to the people of New Hampshire and most importantly the trust that she would always act in a way that would be best for NH and all our people!
I want to wish Laura well in her retirement from political life, and I hope she gets to spend even more time with her very large and loving family! Laura, we thank you for your many wonderful years of service!
Quotes of the Week: Perseverance
“It does not matter how slowly you go so long as you do not stop.”
--Confucius (551-479 BC), philosopher
“Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out.”
--Robert Collier (1885-1950), American self-help author
“Perseverance is the hard work you do after you get tired of doing the hard work you already did.”
--Newt Gingrich (1943- ), American politician, historian, and author
“Through perseverance many people win success out of what seemed destined to be certain failure.”
--Benjamin Disraeli (1804-1881), British politician and writer
“Let me tell you the secret that has led to my goal. My strength lies solely in my tenacity.”
--Louis Pasteur (1822-1895), scientist and inventor of the pasteurization process