Now that quarantine has kept most of America in their homes for a little more than a month, you may be finding yourself falling into a habit of negativity. And, your children, who struggle to make sense of what’s going on in the world may also be feeling negative. Depending on their age, they may be acting out or feeling overwhelmed by the slightest challenge.
I recently read a small “fable” book called The Coffee Bean which provides the perfect illustration for young and old alike during this difficult time.
Essentially, there are three “experiments” that can be conducted.
First, place a carrot in a pot of boiling water for about ten minutes. Once the carrot is removed, notice what happens to it. It becomes soft and mushy.
Next, place an egg in a pot of boiling water. The hot water will cause the egg to harden, creating a hard boiled egg.
Finally, place a coffee bean in a pot of boiling water. When left in the pot, the coffee bean will eventually dissolve and turn the pot of water to coffee.
So, what’s the point of these “experiments”?
When faced with a challenge, struggle, a difficult time, the carrot responds by weakening and responding to the environment in which it is placed. On the other hand, the egg is hardened by its environment and the situation it is placed in. The egg is like many of us, when faced with challenges, we become mean, angry or negative. Our hearts become hardened when hurt and they lose the desire to love others.
But, the coffee bean transforms the environment into which it is placed.
So, as you struggle today with the challenges put before us as we experience the pandemic, we need to remember that we have a choice about how we will respond—
Will we be a carrot who becomes weak and unable to function in our current environment?
Will we be an egg who becomes hard, unloving and uncaring? Someone who sees the needs of others and chooses to look the other way?
Or, will we be a coffee bean who seeks to transform the environment into which we are placed?
While this illustration has a clear message for each of us as adults, there is also a message for our children. Simply stated, that message is that each of us has a choice about how we will respond to hard things. And, the people who win are always the people who seek to transform their environment rather than be victims of the situation where they find themselves.