Gwendolyn Gardner

Simply Chickie/ - Owner
Newport , Rhode Island

    Rats! Learn from the passion of a river rat! Business ideas from the children's book - Sam Who Was Swallowed by a Shark by Phyllis Root and illustrated by Axel Scheffler.

    June 22, 2009

    How do you know you are following your passion? Do you think about the red dress you want to design when you are eating your macaroni and cheese dinner? Do you talk about the way you will mix financial data and dreams while resting your head on your lavender pillow next to your spouse? At the stop light, with your car window down, does the sweet smell of tar remind you of the next party you will plan with an over-the-top artichoke rolled in prosciutto appetizer? If so, you have crashed into your passion-just like Sam-a little river rat in the book, Sam Who Was Swallowed by a Shark by Phyllis Root.

    We first meet Sam taking a nap on the bank of a river-his cute, tiny tail tickling the grass. "Sam was a river rat who dreamed of the sea. At night he heard the wind in the cottonwoods and thought of waves breaking on a faraway shore. By day he hummed sea chanteys as he tended his garden or mended a fence."

    What do you do when no one is looking?

    Sam's neighbors have plenty of advice for Sam. He's told his fence needs mending, and his dandelions need weeding. Sam becomes preoccupied imagining the sea where all rivers end though.

    Sometimes we confuse what we are good at with what our passion is.  We can be good at building fences, but we'd be happier building wedding cakes.

    Sam knows what he wants to do, and he sets about making himself a boat that will take him to the ocean. "His neighbors gathered to watch and whisper." They remind him that they all live near a river not an ocean. Mrs. Seednibbler says, "This here is a little river, a rowboat-and-canoe river."

    We have to see our dream-our passion even when others cannot possibly fathom our vision.

    Sam responds, "All rivers lead to the sea. I have only to follow this one to its end to find the sea of my heart's desire." His neighbors want to know why he would want to do such a thing?  Sam has the perfect response, "It's in my blood."

    Our passion must pulse through us at a constant never-ending pace. Passion gnaws at us.

    As the days go on, "Sam's boat took shape. He trimmed the keel, fitted the ribs, pegged the planks, and laid the deck." His neighbors have plenty to say. "Must be better things to do with your time...wash your windows...nail your house down so it won't blow away." Do you think Sam heard any of his neighbors, really? Sam says, "I want to hear the wind filling my sails." Mrs. Seednibbler puts her two cents in again, "A rat was never meant to go to sea...Rats should have their paws planted firmly on the ground."

    One piece of advice my mom always said growing up and still says-Never say never!

    Finally, Sam stitches the canvas for his sails. His neighbors become even more anxious and say, "You'll be attacked by wild seaweed...You'll be swallowed by a shark!" Sam simply responds, "The sea is calling me. It sings to me in my dreams." He finishes his boat and loads it with supplies. He says goodbye and off he goes. In fact, "Sam sailed on down the river and into the sea of his heart's desire. The waves sang under him. ..Whales spouted, dolphins leaped, and the salt spray matted his fur. At night he munched salt biscuits and cheese and watched the moon tilt in his sails."

    Sam lived his dream; now, go live yours.

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