Just Keep Kicking - January 2021
by Dawn Phelps, RN/LMSW
“The Frog in the Pail” is believed to be an Aesop fable that originated in ancient Greece between 620 and 564 B.C. Aesop was a slave, a much-listened-to storyteller, and many of his fables are still told today. Aesop’s fables were oral, fictional stories of animal characters with human attributes. Each had a moral. The frog-in-a-pail story continues to be retold by various authors, each with its own twist, some with two frogs, some with one. After reading several versions, here is my own one-frog fable.
A big fat frog went hippity-hopping through a barnyard early one morning, looking for an adventure. He could hear the mooooo of the cows inside the barn. So Mr. Frog thought, “I think I’ll just hop inside and say hello to the cows,” and he did. “Hello, Mrs. Cow,” the frog said to a tall white cow, and the cow mooooed her friendly good-morning greeting to the frog. A tall, shiny silver bucket caught Mr. Frog’s eye, and he thought to himself, “I think I’ll just hop right over to that pretty bucket,” and he did.
Mr. Frog was too short to see what was inside the bucket, so he said to himself, “I think I’ll hop up on the edge of bucket and take a look.” With a mighty jump, the frog jumped veeerry high, missed the edge of the bucket, and landed with a big splash in the middle of a half-full bucket of milk. Mr. Frog shook his head and cleared his eyes of the white liquid. As he paddled along in the milk, he thought over his situation.
He thought, “No problem. I’ll just jump right out of this bucket and soon be on my way.” He let himself sink to the bottom of the bucket. When his feet touched the bottom, he pushed off with all his strength. He jumped as high as he could, but the side of the bucket was just too high, and he slid back down into the milk. He caught his breath and tried again and again, but each time, he just slid back down. He soon realized his only choice was to keep on kicking until he was rescued.
He kicked until his legs ached. He kicked until he was so tired he didn’t think he could kick any more. Each time he stopped kicking he began to sink. Just when the frog thought he could kick no longer something very strange began to happen! The milk did not feel the same! “Something very strange is happening!” Mr. Frog said to himself, as he felt some tiny little lumps in the milk.
Amazed, Mr. Frog momentarily forgot how tired he was. “Maybe there is hope,” he told himself as things began to change. The tiny lumps began to stick together, and before long all the little lumps turned into one big flat blob similar to a lily pad. Unbeknownst to him, Mr. Frog had made butter!
Next, Mr. Frog thought, “I’ll crawl up on my lily pad and rest,” and he did. Then he had another idea, “I think I can kick off from my lily pad and jump out of this bucket,” and he did. And Mr. Frog happily hippity-hopped away to his next adventure.
The moral of this fable: “When you don’t see a way out of a situation, even when you are tired, don’t give up. And do not ever, ever stop kicking!”
Life does not go as we envision it. When devastating events happen, things like the loss of a dream or the death of someone we love, hopelessness can set in. Like a frog stuck in a bucket, we may wish we could get out of our problems that almost drown us.
Depression can set in, and we may become physically and emotionally exhausted and wonder “What’s the use of trying when there seems to be no way out?” During the difficult times, look around. Search for a glimmer of hope, a tiny change like bits of butter forming in the milk, to give you faith that you can make it after all.
Even when you are discouraged and tired, when you do not think you can “kick” anymore, do not give up. Just put one foot in front of the other. There is a life out there waiting just for you.
Like Mr. Frog, even when you are tired and sad, do not ever stop kicking!
Call about the next "Living Life after Loss" Group at:
709 Liberty, Clay Center, Kansas
Dawn Phelps, RN/LMSW, Group Facilitator