7.06.2011

What Motor Knows


Maybe you've seen the poster Everything I Need To Know I've Learned From My Cat?  Just make that my sister's cat.
 
   Meet Motor, my sister's fabulous feline whose infectious purr just DARES me to reach out, run my fingers through his luscious fur, maybe even tickle his tummy, and make friends with him. I thought it'd be easy, to become Motor's friend. I figured I knew how to be his friend because I'd grown up around cats. Tons of cats.  We had cats everywhere on the farm and I made friends with all of them, even the scardiest of cats.  Course, I was a lot younger, but what should that matter?  Cats love me, or so I thought. 
   I followed Motor around my sister's house, I mean HIS house, for three days trying to connect with this cat, trying to get him to accept me, like me even, trying to - BEGGING really - get him to let me pet him and maybe even - gasp! - to sit on my lap. I knew that if I could get him to be my laptop, then I'd won him over. He'd purr and purr until he was fast asleep. I first tried sitting still and calling him over.  No deal. I tried approaching ever-so-slowly. Not happening. I'll get down on my knees and pet him at his level, then he'll be hooked, I thought.  Wrong!  Right before I took this picture, I tried petting him in his chair, hoping to lure him to my lap. Nothing. That's when I realized I was wrong. It wasn't easy to become Motor's friend; it was work, hard work!
   So on about day four, I stopped trying. I kind of figured what's the use, but I was still secretly wanting him to notice, accept, maybe even like me.  That's when it happened.  I was sitting on my sister's porch reading a book when I saw Motor eyeing me up from his recliner across the screened area. I just kept on reading. It was then that I noticed him approaching.  He was coming over to me, slowly and very methodically, mind you, but he was moving in my direction! I was totally holding my breath, careful not to make an errant move.  He crawled up on my lap and nudged the book out of his way so that he could get comfortable. Though he stayed cautiously ready to leave me at any moment, I felt him sort of settle in and rub his chin on my hand as if to let me know that now would be a good time to pet him. On his terms, of course. The purrrfect sound of his motor was music to my ears!  Motor was teaching me how to be his friend. And when he'd had enough petting, he nipped at my fingers ever so slightly as if to say "don't mind me, now go back to your book and let me rest here for a spell."
   I learned a lot from Motor that week that I'd probably have paid a lot of money to eventually discover with a behavior therapist. The bottom line is that, like with Motor, we have to teach people how to treat us. It's our job to let them know who we are, what we want and need, what we dream about, what we hope for, what we stand for, what we believe in, and how we feel. Motor pretty much knew (and was able to show me) the answers to all of that stuff. So my question is this: how might what Motor knows change the way you interact with your students, children, family or friends? I cannot wait to see what it does in my interactions with mine!

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