Sunday, 11 May 2014

Spare a Thought for the Donkeys

I wonder how many people realised that this week, in the UK, it is National Donkey Week? I love all things equine but hadn’t realised myself until the week was half done.

Donkeys have been an important part of our domestic life for thousands of years, working alongside us as beasts of burden throughout the ages, & they continue to be the mainstay of many poorer communities across the developing world; communities that could not survive without the humble working donkey to carry heavy loads across rough terrain, often in unforgiving climates. Such a shame then that, across the generations, donkeys have come to be synonymous with stubbornness & stupidity when, in fact, donkeys have a capacity for hard work & resilience that many of us who aspire to lead successful lives, might envy.

All very well, you may be thinking – but what have donkeys to do with coaching? Well, the answer lies in this poignant little tale about a donkey that fell into a well, for which I make no apologies if you have read it many times before.

Donkey in the Well (Author unknown)

One day a farmer's donkey fell down into a well. The animal cried piteously for hours as the farmer tried to figure out what to do. Finally he decided the animal was old and the well needed to be covered up anyway, it just wasn't worth it to retrieve the donkey.
He invited all his neighbours to come over and help him. They all grabbed a shovel and began to shovel dirt into the well. At first, the donkey realized what was happening and cried horribly. Then, to everyone's amazement, he quieted down.
A few shovel loads later, the farmer finally looked down the well and was astonished at what he saw. With every shovel of dirt that hit his back, the donkey was doing something amazing. He would shake it off and take a step up.

 As the farmer's neighbours continued to shovel dirt on top of the animal, he would shake it off and take a step up. Pretty soon, everyone was amazed as the donkey stepped up over the edge of the well and trotted off!
And the moral is: life is going to shovel dirt on you, all kinds of dirt. The trick to getting out of the well is to shake it off and take a step up. Each of our troubles is a stepping-stone. We can get out of the deepest wells just by not stopping, never giving up! Shake it off and take a step up!

Now, isn’t that a powerful story to share on the last day of national donkey week? If you would like to read more about the lives of working donkeys across the world, please visit the website of my sponsored charity or to find out more about the welfare of donkeys in the UK, please visit

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