This week my husband and I have had our two oldest grandkids visiting with us all week long. Our son and daughter-in-law are on a trip and so we get to enjoy being pop and mimi full time and we are loving it. The pool out back has been a big hit as well as a jaunt to Chuckie Cheese, some local playgrounds and of course the nearest Dairy Queen. All of it has been tremendous fun, but one particular incident will stand out in my mind for a long time. It will go down in the family record books as “ Nicole perseveres.”


        It was Tuesday morning and my husband and I trotted out to the back yard with Trent and Nicole who are five and three respectively as they were insisting that we hit the pool early at 9am. We were happy to meet that request but yesterday morning was very cool and crisp and none of us felt like plunging into our unheated pool until the day started warming up…except for three year old Nicole that is. Nicole wasted no time slipping on her water wings, marching down to the jumping board (that’s what we now call the diving board because Trent renamed it and it will forever be called jumping board now). She stepped right up, walked to the end of the board and sailed off like she always does and popped back up to the surface to a hearty round of applause and cheering from her Pop and Mimi.


        My husband and I then began just talking about various things as Trent played on the nearby playground and Nicole paddled around the pool. We soon became aware of Nicole talking very rapidly in a very soft, but encouraging voice as if she was trying to console someone. We realized that as she was getting closer to where we were sitting at the shallow end, that she kept saying the same phrase over and over. We could hear her little voice very clearly saying “ It’s okay buggie, I’ll save you, I will get you, I will save your life”. Upon looking closer we see a little brown beetle on its back wildly moving it’s legs trying to right itself and survive. Nicole’s concerned face was about two inches away and with her soothing little voice, she kept encouraging this gross little beetle to hang in there as she was going to save him. Again we hear her cute little words..”I will get you buggie, I will save you, it’s okay buggie !” as she keeps pushing the water towards this beetle in the hopes of pushing it to the side of the pool. She finally succeeds in nudging this bug right up along the wall of the pool at which point she desperately tries to slide her hand underneath it to pick it up out of the water. The problem was each time that she did this, as she brought the beetle to the surface, it would slide off of her hand before she was able to lift it out. Not to be deterred, she frantically pulls herself out of the pool at the edge, and then lies down on her tummy next to the pool and reaches down with the right arm towards this pitiful bug. She then gently and ever so carefully scoops it up with her cupped hand against the wall of the pool, so that the beetle can safely climb into the palm of her little hand which it does. All through this entire rescue, she never stops encouraging this bug . We continually hear her words of concern …”I am going to save you , you are almost there, I will get you out buggie , don’t worry buggie”. My husband and I continue to look at each other in amazement and at this point I am almost in tears. The rescue is almost complete as the bug crawls into her little cupped palm, and she stands up, walks down the steps to the large grassy area in our back yard and ever so carefully bends down and lets that beetle crawl onto the ground. After safely depositing it in the grass, she stands there for a few seconds, exhaling, deeply relieved and seemingly very proud of herself. She had just made good on a promise. She told that bug that she would save him, and she followed through. I sat there with a lump in my throat and thought about how my little granddaughter just exhibited an incredible display of perseverance. She stuck with the stuff is what she did. She was patient, persistent and in the end, victorious. I kept an eye on my watch and the entire rescue from start to finish took almost exactly twelve minutes. That is an eternity to a three year old yet she would not give up, she would not allow herself to be distracted from the task at hand. Those little legs of hers were pumping fast and furiously as she was attempting to push that bug in the right direction. She never stopped talking to this beetle and her voice always stayed soft and encouraging. When something that she tried did not work, she modified and approached the problem from a different angle. She kept her eyes on that beetle for what seemed like a very long time even though it was twelve minutes and I simply marveled at her stick-to-itiveness. My little grandbaby showed some real spunk and heart in this endeavor and I will always remember it.


        When the mission was accomplished, and she was standing on the grass gazing down at her accomplishment with a little smile on that beautiful face of hers, I couldn’t help but think of what a tremendous example of perseverance she had just been. It was a scene that perhaps would have taught a powerful lesson to many adults if they could have witnessed it. She repeatedly tried to scoop that beetle up and missed it about a hundred times. How easy it would have been to just give up, paddle away and be on to something more fun that did not require such effort and concentration. As I thought about it, what kept her focused was her desire. She wanted more than anything to save that bug. It was very very important to her to do so and she was not going to be distracted. Because of her determination, in the end she was victorious and one yucky little beetle gets to see another day.


        Perseverence… not always seen in young people in today’s world.

Not so in my back yard yesterday and the most intriguing part about it?

The teacher was a three year old… who taught by example.

Thank you Nicole, you wouldn’t give up.

And because you didn’t , somewhere in our back yard today…

is a very grateful beetle.