Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Frog And The Scorpion

"The Frog and the Scorpion" is one of my favorite fables because it resonates so deeply in the root of human behavior. Often times we want to see the good in people because deep down we want the good to be seen in ourselves. We will look past patterns, beliefs, behavior, and history for that one moment of change.

The Frog and Scorpion story has had many variations, but the one I love and apply daily goes like this.

Once there was a scorpion. He had grown tired of his daily life and wanted a change. He left his home and ventured out in search of "something new". He walked through the forest until he came upon a river. He walked up and down the bank but there was no place to cross. Unable to swim he knew he was forced to turn back. Suddenly it began to rain and his way back was filling with water. The scorpion climbed on top of a rock for safety. Soon the rain had stopped but the scorpion was trapped. With nowhere to turn, he looked out upon the water and saw a frog.

Knowing he would die if he didn't get off that rock, he called out to the frog. He asked him if the he would give him a ride on his back to the other side of the river. Knowing the scorpion's history the frog said no. He believed that if he came close he would be stung and die. The scorpion explained,"why would I sting you? We will both die." The frog again said no. Stating that as soon as he helped him across, he would then sting him. The scorpion then again stated that he wouldn't sting him. That he would be so grateful for the help that he would leave him be.

Scorpions are not a new species. They are nearly prehistoric. Their behavior, attitudes, and patterns have been well documented. Just like in life, sometimes we know who we're dealing with but choose not to see it. We have the information, a pattern of consistant behavior...a mold of who they are, but we still give in hoping for "that" moment.

So the frog agreed. He allowed the scorpion on his back and began swimming across the river. About halfway across the frog felt a sharp pain and realized he had been stung. Filled with fear, doubt, hurt and question he looked into the eyes of the scorpion. "Why?" In our quest to offer those an opportunity for redemption, sometimes just to save themselves, we put our own lives and well being in jeopardy.

The frog's legs began to go numb, his body tense. Thinking to himself, he knew what the scorpion was like but couldn't believe he would make a decision that would kill them both. Where was the logic, the reason? With his last breath, he looked at the scorpion and again asked,"why?"

The frog died and the two of them began to sink into the river. Coldly the scorpion replied,"because it's my nature."

The scorpion didn't do anything outside of his character. His actions were consistant with who and what he had always been. In the end, it was the frog who was inconsistant and illogical. Wishing for an outcome that was unrealistic. It's not about the situation or the pursuasive talk...at the end of the day...we are who we are.

Because that's our nature.

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