I loved the game hide and seek when I was a child. The neighborhood kids played it almost every night on Cherevilla Lane; hiding behind sheds, perching on branches of large oak trees, and blending in beneath large weeping willow trees. We would start right after supper and play until the streetlights came on. Sometimes we played beyond that if it was a warm summer night and our parents didn’t want sweaty kids in the house.
I’ve noticed Louie also enjoys a good game of hide and seek. Considering how far he has come in the last few years, this particular quirk is endearing and here to stay.
Occasionally I’ll give Louie a no-rawhide chewy. He’ll start chewing on it for a while and then he’ll whine a bit. And then the whine takes on another tone as he searches throughout the house for a safe place to bury the chewy. Sometimes that place is in my granddaughter’s room. Sometimes it’s behind the couch. But many times it’s within the folds of a blanket on his couch. I don’t believe it’s a matter of actually hiding the chewy, as much as it is that he loves to find the chewy. He does this every single time.
Then I noticed as he was burying his chewy, he was very careful not to let me see him. It’s all part of the game. When I ask where his chewy is, his ears perk up and he is ready to play a little game of hide and seek. I am somewhat amazed that he isn’t more protective as I get close to the hiding spot, but rather he looks toward the spot as if to say, “Don’t look over there, Mom. It’s not there.”
The excitement mounts as I draw closer and closer, and voilà. There’s the chewy. He loves it when I find the chewy and we celebrate that he’s such a smart boy.
The game continues as long as he has a chewy to hide. I don’t know what it is about this hide and seek game that we all love so much. As adults we still play that game, but with a slight twist. We still hide certain things in our lives that we don’t want people know about, because we fear it could ruin the relationship. We don’t want people to know certain things because we fear they might think negatively about us. Yet deep down we all want to be exposed with the hope that when we are found, we will still be loved and accepted. We all seek authenticity and truth. It’s a hunger within all of us, and there is freedom in being who we truly are, not what the world thinks we should be.
When we take off our masks and stop hiding, the authentic “us” is revealed. Some people will appreciate and honor that, while others won’t. Good leaders help people come out from their hiding places and seek authenticity. To do that, we must:
- Be intentional about building trust.
- Demonstrate authenticity in our own lives.
- Provide a safe place and be a safe person for people to be real.
As for Louie, when I find the little treasure that he’s hidden, he seems to do a celebration dance, as if the unveiling bonds us even closer. Everyone has a treasure within them. Seek to help people uncover their treasures, and you will create a culture of trust and love, where people can be productive and effective.