The Story About the Butter and the Dog

My friend Tammy Jackson is full of the most wonderful stories, but the one I want to tell you about today is a story of perspective. It is a story involving a dog, butter, and a little boy.

It was a holiday… Thanksgiving, I believe… and a special dessert was being prepared. Tammy had set the stick of butter on the counter to soften when she realized she was missing one vital ingredient for her dessert.
So, off to the store she went, and when she got back home, the stick of butter was missing from the counter.


Newla, the dog had gotten the butter, and not a morsel was left.
Newla was in the doghouse (so to speak).

Well, two weeks later, Tammy’s mother was coming to visit.
Tammy’s mother gave her a couch, you see, a beautiful floral brand-new couch.

Floors had been vacuumed, bathtubs scrubbed, all things were shiny, clean and put in place.
With only moments until her mother arrived, Tammy went to fluff and dust the prized couch.

Only then did she notice that one of the cushions would not lie flat.

It was the butter.
Newla had “buried” it there for later consumption. (Perhaps the dog apocalypse.)

Now, I thought the story ended there with a mad scurry of greasy cleaning as her mother pulled in the driveway, but that’s not the curious thing.

I found it very curious that as Tammy’s 4 year-old son came in to see his mother cleaning the couch, his comment was, “I was wondering what the butter was doing in the couch.”

He already knew about the butter in the couch.
What was this boy thinking? That perhaps butter belongs in a couch?
And why didn’t it occur to him to mention it to his mother?
I mean, come on! It’s butter.
In the couch!
This boy questions everything else. Why not this?

But that made me think.
What is my butter?

What am I seeing and dismissing… thinking, “Huh – that’s just how things are” – and going on with life?

Maybe my butter is the trapped feeling of working from home.
Maybe my butter is sending the kids to a school that gives five hours of homework.

Maybe my butter is determined by how much control I think I have over the situation.

I think your butter is anything that is out-of-place but you haven’t stopped to question it.
So, the next time you get a questioning tingle that makes you go “huh”, stop and check to see if it’s your butter.
Instead of dismissing it, question it.

It’s those little, gnawing, “huh?” feelings that are trying to signal you that a course correction may be in order.
It’s that moment between “huh?” and dismissing it that makes you powerful.
You are not four years old.
There is butter in your couch.
Is that OK or not?
And then take action.
Or not.
You get to choose.
You have the power.

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