I recently went to a psychology workshop about self care and self/compassion. During the workshop I realised that it was easy to consider showing compassion to my clients and myself, but was I as good at showing compassion to my son when he was defiant and I was in a hurry. I was inspired and wrote this story about my son the 9 year old teacher of wisdom.
A tale about learning compassion
Once upon a fairy forest
It was a pleasant day in the forest. The sun was just nice and warm and the breeze was just breezy, gentle and loving. You could smell the jasmine blooms opening and hear the peaches blushing. It was just right.
“Arhhhh”, said the normally feisty bullfrog with a big sigh, sinking deep into his bullfrog legs. Not even the dragonflies bothered him. They often dared each other to see how close they could get before he would give them a friendly, fake lick. They were lucky there was a time, when BelGrin was a very different bullfrog.
When BelGrin was just a teenager, he had so much energy and would get into a lot of mischief. He would hide among the rocks near Cooper’s Lane waiting and when the little boy who lived there would come out to play, the bullfrog would croak loudly … as loud as he could. “Croak … Croak …. Croak”, in order to frighten the boy. Oh the bullfrog thought it was so much fun. It was one of his favourite games to play to see the little boy jump so high and then run home. You see BelGrin had never known what it was like to be afraid.
Of course, had Cooper been able to see it was just a frog, a different type of frog with a totally different sound, he would have understood and felt safe. Everything changed though, the day Rascal came to visit Cooper. Rascal was aptly named, as he was truly a rascal. Rascal was a beagle (that’s a type of dog) and one of his amazing gifts was his ability to smell and hunt that smell down.
Cooper was out playing fetch with Rascal and BelGrin was lying in wait. Then at the most appropriate time, he let out a ripper of a “CROAK … CROAK … CROAK”. Cooper jumped and BelGrin laughed but Rascal spotted him and he went for BelGrin. I would have said ‘poor’ BelGrin but he had a lesson to learn. He had chosen the ‘hard’ way to learn this lesson.
The chase was on. Dogs are fast and so the bullfrog had to jump as fast as he could, through the strawberry patch, over pumpkins and then high over those pineapples. Ouch one of those spiky leaves got him on the butt, but he did not stop and neither did the beagle. Rascal was barking with his nose to the ground and caught him with one of his giant paws. Belgrin was trapped!
Rascal was barking and Cooper yelled, “STOP, RASCAL, STOP”. Cooper looked at the bullfrog. “So it’s you, who has been frightening me and you are no bigger than a dogs paw”. Humph. The temptation was great to let Rascal have the frog, but Cooper remembered being frightened and also being brave. Cooper looked into the scared eyes of the bullfrog and said, “Thank you for teaching me how brave I can be. So many times I was scared to come out and play which is one of my most favourite things of the day. I can now know to be curious about what I don’t understand instead of being afraid.” He called Rascal away and they went off happily to play with the pinecones and let the bullfrog be.
With relief and gratitude the bullfrog experienced what is was like to suffer from fear and could now understand how wrong he had been. What seemed like fun to him had caused harm to another and yet he was shown mercy. Cooper had taught him what compassion was. Belgrin promised himself to be aware of his actions and then to consider the impact upon others and also him. He would from here on in, choose to be brave and act with kindness to others and also himself when in need.
That was his lesson that day and he found a deep peace. This doesn’t mean BelGrin was not ever sad, angry or frightened. This peace came from wisdom, the wisdom he had learnt from a little boy called Cooper.