Sometime ago I heard a story about a bunch of frogs who wanted to compete in a new athletic event sponsored by the pond community council that sanctioned such events. The council met to discuss possible contests and decide where, when, and who was eligible to participate. The selection committee spent a great deal of time finding an activity that would test the frogs’ athleticism, endurance, and conditioning. The only stipulation they imposed was that it had to be something in which any frog in the pond could compete if they chose to do so. After pondering many options, the committee recommended a challenging hopping competition which would require each contestant to hop up every step of the neighborhood water tower which was high and built for humans’ long legs to climb.
For several weeks before the contest you could see hundreds of frogs hopping, trying to get into shape for the contest.
The day of the event finally arrived and a huge crowd gathered to watch and cheer the contestants. Not a single spectator believed any of the contestants would reach the top. In fact, as the race progressed the audience became very vocal and negative. They shouted such uninspiring comments as:
“Give up. It is too far and too difficult.”
“You’ll never reach the top. Quit before you hurt yourself.”
“You can’t do this because frogs are not meant to climb stairs.”
The race had barely started before the first frogs began dropping out, not even able to hop up the first step. As the race continued, frogs dropped, and with every step, another frog gave up. “It’s too hard!” the spectators yelled. “You can’t make it.”
A few continued to climb, but at the end of the race only one frog made it to the top to claim his prize. The crowd was surprised, stunned, and curious about how he had done it. His secret was simple. He was DEAF!
This little frog, unlike the others, didn’t hear the audience yelling encouragement to give up. He didn’t hear their negativity. As a result, he didn’t know that frogs couldn’t climb the tower. He believed in himself, and because he didn’t hear all the distractions, he wasn’t impacted or discouraged by their comments.
Wise parents teach their children that there are times to become DEAF to the negative and discouraging comments to which they may be exposed. In addition, this is a great way for parents to reinforce their child’s belief in their ability to achieve whatever goals they are striving to reach.
Happy Failing Forward,
Calvert and Anne
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