Darwin and Change
“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.” ~ Charles Darwin
The past week has been amazing and my life will never be the same. One week ago today, my niece, Darwin Roma Jacobs, was born! I was with her parents as she entered the world, and I watched as she experienced all sorts of “firsts:” her first breath, her first time seeing her mother and father, her first time nursing, her first bath, her first sneeze, and her first time getting her hair brushed. And that was only day one! I feel so lucky to have witnessed her beautiful beginnings. Since I was a young kid, I’ve heard about this thing called “childbirth” and it was just as intense and amazing as I imagined.
Dar is an international baby already. Her parents have traveled all over the world, and got engaged in Uganda surrounded by chimpanzees. Her name is also a tribute to our planet’s rich diversity of life. Her first name comes from the English naturalist Charles Darwin, who proved that all animals evolved from a common ancestor. A few years ago, my sister and her husband hung out with sea lions in the Galapagos Islands off the coast of Ecuador, where Charles Darwin did many of his studies. My sister is a evolutionary biologist and my brother-in-law is a historian and amateur paleontologist. Dar’s middle name, Roma, comes from our grandmother, Rose, and from Italy, a place that is dear in the hearts of her parents. I’m confident that this baby will have many international adventures.
Each day, Dar gets a little bigger or stronger or more alert. It’s almost unimaginable how quickly she will change and grow. All of this is natural and humans have been growing up for many years, but it’s still amazing. Here’s one little person on one big planet but who knows what kind of impact she will have? Or what kind of impact any of you reading this will have? Darwin predicted those who will have the most success on Earth:
“In the long history of humankind (and animal kind, too) those who learned to collaborate and improvise most effectively have prevailed.” ~ Charles Darwin
As we struggle to figure out what it means to grow up in the 21st century, I see Darwin’s words as more meaningful than ever. We need to embrace change and be ready to improvise together. As baby Darwin knows already, there’s a lot to learn in this big old world, and every day is full of new experiments. All of us are in for an amazing ride.