I am always telling my oldest granddaughter to stop being the manager of my youngest granddaughter. It seems to be my daily mantra, and one of these days she will learn. I just want her to take it easy and not worry about anyone but herself – her cousin is not her responsibility. I guess it would be problematic if my youngest granddaughter gave a rip about what her older cousin was instructing her to do. We need to be more like my youngest granddaughter, and not let the words and actions of other people influence us.
That reminds me of a parable I heard at a comedy show when I was a child. The comedian on the stage told the following story. I know it was not original, but I could not find the original.
There was an old man and his grandson and they lived way back in a Holler – Now for those of you that don’t know, a Holler is a small sheltered valley usually between mountains. Now this man and this child lived at the farthest part of the Holler and they were the poorest in this poor little village.
One day, the man told the boy that they were out of food and needed to go sell their donkey named Hiney in the city. However, they would have to take the day to travel there and back. The next day the old man put the boy on the back of the donkey and they started their trek to the city.
Passing the first house an older couple was sitting on their front stoop, they started talking and said, “Look at that selfish boy, he is riding that donkey and his granddad has to walk. That is one selfish boy.” Well the old man did not want his grandson to seem selfish, so he took the boy off the donkey and he got on the donkey.
Soon they passed the next house and an old couple were sitting outside of their house on the stoop. “Would you look at that?” One of them said, “That old man is so mean, he is riding the donkey while his grandson is forced to walk.” Well the old man did not want to appear mean, so he got off of the donkey and they both walked.
They approached the next house and an old man was tending his garden in his front yard and looked at the two travelers. “What a foolish pair, walking and leading the donkey when they could be riding it.” Not wanting to look foolish, he put the boy back on the donkey and got on after him.
They rode past another house. “Look at those mean people – all that weight on that donkey – that poor donkey. They should carry the donkey, because it is so old – that poor abused animal.” The man didn’t want to be accused of abusing the animal. so he got off and put the boy under the front legs and he went under the back legs and they lifted the animal on their shoulders and started carrying it.
Now there was a footbridge that spanned a long chasm. and it was the only way out of the hollar and to the big city. The pair started to cross, and the bridge started to swing back and forth, this made Hiney very scared and she started to kick and brey. The man and the boy did their best to hold the frightened animal, but Hiney would not settle down, the two lost control of the beast and Hiney fell over the side of the footbridge into the chasm below.
The moral to this story is: If you listen to everyone you might lose your hiney!
The old man in the story let the opinions of the towns folk govern his decisions and control the direction of his life.
It is so easy to get caught up in the fray, to let go of our own control and to let what others think influence every aspect of our lives. Soon we lose our own identity and our thoughts start to bend towards the crowd. It takes courage and a willingness to correct the course of your life, to stop listening to what everyone says you should do and do what you know is best. You are on your journey, stop listening to the bystanders or else you too might just lose your hiney.