Dancing Penguins


Take the Initiative and Lead the Way.  You Can Make the Difference.

Thirty little penguins began their lives being pretty much equal to each other, certainly they all dressed alike, and they experienced similar childhoods.  They lived in the shadow of a towering ice wall, quite a distance from the waters.  All their food was supplied by their parents with clock-like regularity.  Being so protected and fed, they had plenty of time for play and exploration.  The little penguins enjoyed life and felt secure.

One day the parents of the little penguins realized that to continue to feed, protect and shelter their children from life was to do them an injustice.  The parents went off, as always, to search for food.  But on this particular day they did not return.  This marked the beginning of transferring responsibility for food from the parents to the little penguins.

The 30 little penguins in the colony had not anticipated such a life-altering event and certainly had not been prepared for it.  They paced up and down the beach, looking off in the direction taken by their parents.  They continued to await the arrival of their food.  After all, life had been quite predictable up until this point.  It was difficult for the little penguins to get on with anything constructive.  They stared into the distance, waiting for life in its familiar form.

The Plungers:

As the little penguins continued their pacing, four of them finally decided to take some action.  These four separated themselves from the others, never looking back.  They waddled off toward the towering wall.  After scrambling to the top where they’d never ventured before they plunged enthusiastically into the water!  After the plunge into the water, these four leaders found that, lo and behold, they could swim!  In the unfamiliar waters, they also discovered all the food they would ever need for the rest of their lives.

The Followers:

The remaining 26 penguins were still pacing on the beach and getting hungrier and hungrier by the minute.  Soon six of the remaining 26 pulled away from the group.   As they cautiously moved away, looking back to what they were leaving behind, these followers responded to that spirit in their little bodies that propelled them forward.  They too approached the wall and scrambled to the top, although a little less assuredly than the plungers.  As they stood at the top huddled together, they looked forward in hopes of seeing the plungers, then they covered their eyes not wanting to see what they were about to do.  Instead of plunging into the water with the enthusiasm of the first four, they merely leaned forward and allowed themselves to fall.  Soon after entering the water, they, too, found food and discovered that they could swim.

The Joiners:

Finally, nine more penguins left the ranks.  As they moved away, they walked backwards, afraid to lose sight of what they were leaving behind.  In doing so they became confused, having no clear sense of direction, wavering between joining the first 10 and remaining behind.  A few spoke up and said, “We have a big problem.  I think we need to form a committee to discuss our situation.”  There are a great many penguins who just love to talk about problems.  Amazingly enough, this penguin committee of joiners did arrive at two unanimous decisions.  First, it was decided that none of the penguins would go over the wall.  After all, they had not seen hide not hair of the first 10 who had taken that route. Therefore, they must be dead!  The second decision was that they would only undertake that which they could see was safe.  So this group of penguins trudged over to a nearby pond.  As they reached the pond, they tentatively wiggled their little feet into the water.  Once assured that it was safe, they eased their bodies into the pond.  This group likes to play it safe.

The Wailers:

Now there are 11 penguins left on the beach.  It seemed likely they would starve to death, because by this time they were mighty hungry and disgruntled.  The never really joined forces or banded together.  Instead, they wandered aimlessly around in isolation, waiting for something, anything, to come along and rescue them.  Lo and behold, something did come and rescue them! The tide came in and washed these penguins into the water.  They never really did do anything to find food.  They simply waited for the tide to come in!

You would think these penguins would be ecstatic to find their problem solved with no effort on their part. Opportunity for good in life came to these penguins through no fault of their own.  But no!  Once in the water, these penguins did not look for food.  In fact, they turned their bodies toward shore and scrambled back to land.  They stood on the beach, glaring at the water and trying to explain their plight.  “The tide was four days late. Where was it anyway?  Heck, it took us where we didn’t want to go in the first place.  Well, if we don’t want this to happen again without our permission, then we’d better get organized.  We need to protect ourselves.”  As a result, these little wailer penguins organized themselves in order to protect themselves from the inevitable tides.  They wished to maintain the status quo and protect themselves from the very thing that fed them!


The penguin story illustrates the role you must play in bringing quality Physical Education programs into your district.  Since you are here ‘walking the talk’ and ‘plunging forward’, remember your fellow penguin leaders.  You now have the contacts you need to continue with your vision of quality Physical Education. 

In closing, here are some tips that can help guide you on your plunge!!!!