Weekend Gold Coast Bulletin




Do you know Hans Christian Andersen’s tale The Ugly Duckling? I found an old cartoon clip of it the other day and was reminded about its powerful message and how relevant it feels for today’s world. Here is my modern interpreta­tion:

When a mother duck’s eggs hatch in a farmyard, one of the hatchlings doesn’t look like the other ducklings and its difference­s are quickly noticed. He’s told that he’s ugly and is disowned by the mother and experience­s abuse from the other birds and animals on the farm.

How often do we hear about that today with young children being treated unkindly, abandoned, marginalis­ed or bullied and abused by others because they don’t seem to fit or are different in some way?

The young duckling leaves and finds company with wild ducks and geese until the flocks are wiped out by hunters. He then finds shelter with an old woman but is teased and chased away by her cat and hen. Sometimes we look to other groups and individual­s to connect with but things happen and circumstan­ces change and we can be left alone again because some members of the new group don’t accept us.

The lonely duckling notices a flock of migrating swans and is delighted by them and wants to join them so that he can get away, but he is too young to fly. We often look up to others and aspire to be like them, but sometimes the timing is wrong, or we don’t know how to become like them.

As winter arrives, the duckling is found and given shelter by a farmer, but is scared by the noisy children and runs away.

At times we may find temporary comfort with those who are kind and well-meaning and accept us for who we are but we may become fearful of others around us and want to run away. The duckling takes shelter in a cave and manages to survive until spring when he sees the flock of swans returning.

We can hide away and get through, but it doesn’t feel as though we are really living and enjoying life because sometimes we don’t know who or what we truly are and it feels as though nobody really cares or accepts us.

As a result we may become isolated and feel like giving up.

Now fully matured the ugly duckling can no longer endure the hardship and loneliness deciding he’d rather be killed by the beautiful swans than continue feeling isolated.

But instead of attacking him, the swans welcome and accept him and it’s only when he looks at his reflection in the water that he realises he is one of them. He joins the flock and leaves with his new family.

We are social beings and all need to have a sense of belonging and connection with our own flock or tribe whatever that is for us.

When we start to explore who we are and what we bring, accepting that we are different, we are more likely to find our fit with a group who give us the space and opportunit­y to embrace our uniqueness rather than be isolated because of it.

When we find that environmen­t we are more able to thrive and develop into our true self whatever that is for us.

Have you found your flock?

We often look up to others and aspire to be like them, but sometimes the timing is wrong.

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