What We Can Learn from Sharks

29 07 2011

If the President, the Pope, the Dali Lama, and the Queen came to my house the first week of August, they would be offered a cold beverage, light snack, and a seat in front of the TV – as would any guest.  It’s time for Shark Week!!  7 glorious days of sharks, shark facts, shark species, shark ancestry, shark fighting, shark mating, shark migrating, shark jumping – and it’s all fascinating!  During Shark Week, everyone can learn something new.

Presented by the Discovery Channel, Shark Week fills and expands our brains with information and a new understanding for the beauty and intricacy of our natural world – yet I can’t help but think of the reaction you see in so many adults when a new concept is presented to them.  I’m always a bit shocked when I see a “grown-up” blatantly reject new information (admittedly, I have been guilty as well).

Do we grow to believe we know everything?  Are we offended by the implication that something exists that we don’t know?  The world around us is changing rapidly.  If we continue to reject new concepts and dismiss the developments that are shaping the future, then we risk becoming irrelevant or extinct.

My 6-year-old son is not only delighted by the information he soaks in during Shark Week, he is more than happy to share what he has learned at any time.  To break a silent moment, or in the middle of a completely different conversation, he might say:

  • “Hey dad, did you know that sharks can weigh as much as two tons?”
  • “Guess what – some shark fossils are 16 million years old.”
  • “Great Whites can jump out of the water to capture prey.”
  • “Bull Sharks can live in freshwater.” (He saves that for when we’re at the lake.)

You don’t have to be a kid to learn new things, but you must to be open to the possibility that you can learn.  Sharks are amazing creatures, examples of evolution at its finest.  Physically adapted over millions of years, sharks have survived and avoided extinction because they have evolved.  We must follow that example.

In honor of Shark Week, my son and I made this video about Great White Sharks.  Neither of us knew how to do this a year ago, but we believed we could learn.  Enjoy!

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