In a field one summer's day a Grasshopper was hopping about, chirping and singing to its heart's content. An Ant passed by, bearing along with great toil an ear of corn he was taking to the nest.
"Why not come and chat with me," said the Grasshopper, "instead of toiling and moiling in that way?"
"I am helping to lay up food for the winter," said the Ant, "and recommend you to do the same."
"Why bother about winter?" said the Grasshopper; we have got plenty of food at present." But the Ant went on its way and continued its toil.
When the winter came the Grasshopper found itself dying of hunger, while it saw the ants distributing, every day, corn and grain from the stores they had collected in the summer.
Then the Grasshopper knew...
It is best to prepare for the days of necessity.
I am not here to debate that we need to prepare for the future, whatever it may bring. We definitely need to do that. But maybe there is more to the story. If we look at the ant as the planner, the scheduler, the preparer and the think-ahead-er, and the grasshopper as the in-the-moment-er, ready-at-the-drop-of-a-hat-to-help-er, we might see things differently.
Here's a scenario:
Sandy has 5 children, all very active and actively involved. She schedules to the minute and is prepared for almost anything. She has extra provisions put away for the just-in-case. In her freezer are frozen meals made ahead for contingency. She does these meals on Saturday morning from 6-9 AM so that she has the rest of the day to prepare for Sunday, shuffle the kids to their activities and have a date with her husband on Saturday evening. Sandy is prepared. Sandy is an ant.
Holly has 4 children who are all grown. She is a creative type. She lives in the moment because she never knows when inspiration will strike. Sometimes she doesn't even do her dishes because she is too busy making beauty with her talent. She may prepare a meal or she may send out for Chinese. Holly is not prepared, but she has a very flexible schedule. Holly is a grasshopper, flitting from one thing to another, many times those things being service.
Sandy and Holly have a friend named Donna. Donna has just had surgery and will be laid up in bed for a few days. Donna's kids need watched and she needs some meals. Sandy and Holly know about this and each helps in their own way. Sandy grabs a couple of casseroles out of the freezer, makes a big salad, and drops it by Donna's house. She can only stay for a moment because someone has violin lessons and someone else has soccer. Donna is so thankful for her organized and prepared friend, Sandy. Holly looks in her fridge and finds leftover take-out. But Holly can also help Donna. She drives to Donna's house, bags up the kids and a few belongings and takes them to her house where they build tents in the living room, watch movies, and make microwave s'mores. Holly is not plan-ahead-prepared, but has time and flexibility. Donna gets lots of rest because she knows her kids are in not only good hands, but fun hands as well with Holly. She is back on her feet in no time, well-fed and well-rested.
Because they are all friends and spend lots of time together with their collective families, their children learn these important lessons:
- How to be prepared. By watching Sandy, they learn how wonderful it is to have a schedule and to think ahead about the possibilities of what might happen. Sandy felt good about her preparedness.
- How to be flexible and available. By watching Holly, they learn about the importance of being able to stop what you're doing and help out others. Holly felt great about being able to spend time with Donna's kids and show them some silly fun.
- How to receive help. Donna, in her way, blessed the lives of her friends by allowing them to pitch in and help her. By doing so, she recovered much more quickly than if she had pridefully said, "No, I'm fine, I don't need anything."