10/07/2010

Re-Thinking the Red Hen

The Little Red Hen is a story I remember being told frequently growing up - much more so than the Ant and the Grasshopper, though it made an appearance as well. The theory being that they express much the same moral: those who work, prosper; those who don't, do not.

It occurs to me that I much prefer the Ant and the Grasshopper over the Hen, because the Hen has an underlying moral that I'm not sure I care to pass on to my child. She asks for help, and when she gets a no, she says, "I'll do it myself." And while independence is a good thing, and getting the job done is a good thing, becoming unwilling to ask for help because people are just going to let you down or say no anyway is not so much of a good thing. And for the Little Red Hens of the world, the three seem to be inseparable. Also? That hint of martyrdom that goes along with her assertion and the fact that she is the only one who keeps the house clean? Not an attractive attribute.

Sometimes in life you have to ask for help. Sometimes you have to ask a person to reconsider their initial no because you really can't take care of it alone. Sometimes you have to accept grudging help graciously. Because at some point in your life, someone may ask you for help that you don't particularly want to give, but you need to remember that sometimes you help because you should, not because you want to. And even if it's grudging at first, you make every effort to turn it into gleeful. And sometimes someone will agree to help and they will end up letting you down. But you need to forgive them, love them, and ask them again another time.

Because that's what you'd want them to do for you.

1 comment:

Lynellen said...

maybe you can add a rewrite of this to your list of writing projects?