A Parable of Two Frogs
A group of frogs were hopping contently through the woods, going about their froggy business, when two of them fell into a deep pit. All of the other frogs gathered around the pit to see what could be done to help their companions. When they saw how deep the pit was, they agreed that it was hopeless and told the two frogs in the pit that they should prepare themselves for their fate, because they were as good as dead.
Unwilling to accept this terrible fate, the two frogs began to jump with all of their might. Some of the frogs shouted into the pit that it was hopeless, and that the two frogs wouldn’t be in that situation if they had been more careful, more obedient to the froggy rules, and more responsible. The other frogs continued sorrowfully shouting that they should save their energy and give up, since they were already as good as dead. The two frogs continued jumping with all their might, and after several hours of this, were quite weary.
Finally, one of the frogs took heed to the calls of his fellow frogs. Exhausted, he quietly resolved himself to his fate, lay down at the bottom of the pit, and died. The other frog continued to jump as hard as he could, although his body was wracked with pain and he was quite exhausted. Once again, his companions began yelling for him to accept his fate, stop the pain and just die. The weary frog jumped harder and harder and, wonders of wonders, finally leaped so high that he sprang from the pit.
Amazed, the other frogs celebrated his freedom and then gathering around him asked, “Why did you continue jumping when we told you it was impossible?” The astonished frog explained to them that he was deaf, and as he saw their gestures and shouting, he thought they were cheering him on. What he perceived as encouragement inspired him to try harder and to succeed against all odds.
This simple story contains a powerful lesson. The book of Proverbs says, “There is death and life in the power of the tongue.” Your encouraging words can lift someone up and help them make it through the day. Your destructive words can cause deep wounds; they may be the weapons that destroy someone’s desire to continue trying – or even their life. Your destructive, careless words can diminish someone in the eyes of others, destroy their influence and have a lasting impact on the way others respond to them.
Be careful what you say. Speak life to (and about) those who cross your path. There is enormous power in words. If you have words of kindness, praise or encouragement – speak them now to, and about others. Listen to your heart and respond.
“Given the damage that can be done with our tongues, little wonder the Savior said, “Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man.” I love what Elder Orson F. Whitney once said: ‘The spirit of the gospel is optimistic; it trusts in God and looks on the bright side of things. The opposite or pessimistic spirit drags men down and away from God, looks on the dark side, murmurs, complains, and is slow to yield obedience.’ We should honor the Savior’s declaration to “be of good cheer.” . . Speak hopefully. Speak encouragingly, including about yourself.”
– Jeffrey R. Holland
“When we treat people merely as they are, they will remain as they are. When we treat them as if they were what they should be, they will become what they should be.”
– Thomas S. Monson