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Posts Tagged ‘responsibility’

The Animals and the Bridge

August 18, 2011 Leave a comment

Jungle BridgeFive animals were trying to cross a bridge, a cat, a dog, a cow, a pig, and a goat. The cat went first. Just then, a strong gust of wind came and knocked the cat off the bridge into the water below. The cat swam to shore then called to the other animals, “It’s the wind’s fault that I can’t cross the bridge. I am giving up.” The dog went next. Just then, a bird swooped down from the sky and pecked at the dog’s head. The dog panicked and ran back past the other animals. As he ran, he proclaimed, “It’s the bird’s fault that I can’t cross the bridge. I am giving up.” Next went the cow. As the cow stepped onto the bridge, the sun came out from behind a cloud and shown directly into the cow’s eyes. Unable to see, the cow stopped in it’s tracks, backed up, then walked into the trees to hide his eyes from the sun. From the trees, the cow called to the pig and the goat, “It’s the sun’s fault that I can’t cross the bridge. I am giving up.” The pig and the goat looked at each other and then the pig squinted his eye’s, looked down, and started making his way across the bridge. As the pig looked down, he noticed just how far above the ground the bridge was. His pudgy legs began to quiver in fear. He squealed, turned around, and ran past the goat, shouting “I’m afraid of heights! It’s the height’s fault that I can’t cross the bridge. I am giving up.” The goat stood there for a moment and considered his options. Finally, he cautiously stepped out onto the bridge. Just then, a gust of wind blew, but the goat caught himself and stayed on the bridge. Then a bird swooped down and pecked at the goat’s head, but the goat nipped back at the bird and it flew away. Next, the sun returned from behind the cloud and blinded the goat. The goat, squinted his eyes, looked down, and continued walking across the bridge. As he walked, like the pig, he noticed the great height of the bridge. His legs began to tremble a bit, but then he got a hold of his senses, kept walking forward, and eventually made it across the bridge to the other side. From there, he shouted to the other animals, “Hey guys. I made it!” The four animals just looked at each other, shook their heads, and marveled. “Wow.” they said, “Some animals have all the luck. I wish it had been that easy for us.” Then the cat, dog, cow, and pig all went away, never to cross the bridge.

“If it’s never our fault, we can’t take responsibility for it. If we can’t take responsibility for it, we’ll always be its victim.” ~Richard Bach

“We are taught you must blame your father, your sisters, your brothers, the school, the teachers – you can blame anyone but never blame yourself. It’s never your fault. But it is always your fault, because if you wanted to change, you’re the one who has got to change. It’s as simple as that…” ~Katharine Hepburn

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What Fire? Shut Up and Play! [***]

September 3, 2009 Leave a comment
House on FireWe often have large fires during the summer here in southern California. They last for days -even weeks and months-, burn hundreds of thousands of acres of land, destroy hundreds of homes and other buildings, and even take a few lives. Every time such fires occur, large call centers are set up so that local residents can call and talk to people who know how to properly cope with the fire (both during and after the fire). Often times, the calls are along the lines of “I am at work but my home is on such and such street. Is the fire anywhere near there?” Other times, a caller might ask, “I can see the fire from my kitchen window. What should I do now?” During a recent wild fire, a friend of mine was working in one of these call centers as an operator when she received a phone call that went something like what I have detailed below. 

Caller: Hello, I am at my house right now, and I was wondering if I should leave or not.

Operator: Are you somewhere near the fire?

Caller: Yes, I think so.

Operator: Can you see the fire from your home?

Caller: Yes.

Operator: How close do you think the fire is to your home?

Caller: It appears to be a couple of streets away. I can see some of the other houses burning.

Operator: That sounds very close. Fires can move very quickly. You should evacuate immediately. You probably don’t have time to pack anything up. Just grab whatever is most valuable to you and is easy to carry and get out now.

Caller: Hmm… I have a lot of valuable things. Too many to carry. …but you know what. I don’t think I really need to worry about the fire. Are you sure I should leave?

Operator: Yes ma’am. You are in danger and you should leave now.

Caller: [Pause] I dunno. I would be leaving all this stuff behind. I don’t think I am in any real danger. I think I should stay. Do you really think I should leave?

Operator: Yes ma’am. Please forget about your possessions and get out now. Your life is in danger.

Caller: [Pause] I dunno. I think I should stay here.

Operator: No one can make you leave. That is your decision, but you should leave. Now!

The call ended with the caller still in the house. I have no idea what happened after that. Perhaps she came to her senses and left in time, or perhaps she didn’t! What would cause a person to disregard their safety, their well-being, and even their life in the way that this lady did? I have some answers, but before I get to them, here is another story of sorts. Read more…

A Sibling Rivalry

June 25, 2009 Leave a comment
A certain father had two sons, ages 9 and 10, and both were talented baseball players. The older son, Caleb, was a catcher and the younger son, Arnold, was a pitcher. Both could hit very well. The father coached a baseball team for kids and both sons were on the team. The father loved both sons equally and gave them both lots of praise whenever they did something well. When they made mistakes, he encouraged them and gave them advice about how to improve. Wanting to please his father, the younger son, Arnold, spent nearly all of his free time practicing. He went to the batting cages, threw the baseball at a board with a target on it, and played catch with himself by throwing the ball straight up into the air. Caleb on the other hand spent most of his time with his pals. They rode bikes, traded baseball cards, and talked a lot. Caleb loved to brag to his friends about how great of a baseball player he was, how he could hit home runs and pick off base runners who were trying to steal. 

Naturally, over time, Arnold became the better player. As a pitcher he won lots of games and as a batter he got many hits including home runs. Caleb was good too but he could never be credited with a “win” since he was a catcher. Also, although Caleb had a strong swing, he tended to pop up and strike out too much. Their father, and coach, praised both children according to their abilities which meant that Arnold got more praise. Arnold’s dad wasn’t the only person dishing out the praise either. The other members of the team often gave Arnold high fives and head noogies. They would occasionally even chant his name from the dugout. Read more…