Once upon a time, there were some friends. They lived in the forest, and they had a fairly easy life. They were all chipmunks, and because they were chipmunks they were very aware of the effect that the cycle of the seasons had on their lives. They couldn’t just go down to the supermarket whenever they wanted to get some food. They had to rely on what nature provided.
But they also had to rely on their ability to predict the times when nature wouldn’t provide, so they would be ok. They were all very good about watching each other and checking different temperature patterns so they would know when it was time to start saving a little bit of what they collected.
Normally, during times of good weather, they didn’t really have to worry about what they collected. They just collected, and ate what they collected, whenever they felt like it. It was always a little bit of sad time for them on the day when they realized that winter was coming. On that day, they had to start saving a little bit of what they collected for later. They were sad because they couldn’t devote their minds to only playing; they had to think a little bit about the future.
Of course when they were young, their parents had to practically force them to start saving when the time came. Because they were young and inexperienced, they never really understood the significance of the coming winter.
But as they transitioned to young adulthood, they started to recognize the importance of having to save. Each of their parents was very good about making sure they experienced enough worry during winter to remember to collect for the next year. Not enough worry to cause them any emotional harm, but just enough to make them aware of the importance of saving.
Some of their friends didn’t have it so easy. Their parents were selfish, and didn’t want to share any of their worry. They kept it all to themselves. They thought they were being good parents by always providing for their kids, without allowing them the luxury of learning how to provide for themselves.
When they grew up, and these young chipmunks had to leave their parents and live on their own, some of them were very unprepared to handle the changes of the weather on their own. And sadly, some of these didn’t make it.
Which is why every year, even thought they were sad their playtime was over, they were glad they had developed the skills to shift from pure play in to only partial play and partial work. Sometimes, they were excited when winter came, because just thinking of all the resources they’d saved up made them feel very proud of themselves, and confident in their ability to handle the changing seasons.
They had fully understood and appreciated the gift of worry, but only if you listen to it, and take steps to make sure what you are worried about doesn’t happen. When you do that, worry can turn into the powerful confidence of self-sufficiency.