A bone to pick with the Little Red Hen

I have another annoyance to vent about so here goes:

It's the story of the Little Red Hen. You know - where she decides to make bread and goes out to get the grain, grind it, mix it, knead it, bake it, slice it and then eat it. She invites help from all her wee chicks to help in the process, as well as the farmyard animals. They all decline citing other activities that they can't spare the time to help her. So when it comes to eating the bread, they all step up to the plate to 'help' with that. At which point she goes, 'Oh no, you didn't bother to help with the making of the bread, so now I will eat it all myself...' - and that is what she does.
I think there is a moral to this story - the proverbial 'sowing and reaping', that if you don't volunteer your help don't expect to partake of the fruits of others' labours. This is fair enough. I think it is a good lesson and should be taught to our children. But we shouldn't stop there. Because we should teach it to them so they will know what could happen to them if they aren't cheerful helpers/servants. 

 Up until this point, I think it is a good story. But I am teaching it to my kids with a 'part two', which goes like this:
"So the little Red Hen told all her friends that she wouldn't share with them because they failed to help her. But she was an unregenerate Red Hen who didn't reflect on the grace of God in her life. Her sister, Little Brown Hen, on the other hand, had. She knew she didn't make the grain grow - God did. She knew she had wanted her friends to help her make the bread, and they didn't. But when she looked back at her life, and all the times she had failed to help others, and all the times she had failed to serve God as she should have, she repented. She saw that God did not redeem her because she had anything good to offer Him! In fact, she saw that not only had she repeatedly failed God in her life, but that she still failed to serve Him as she should. God did not owe her anything! And yet, He, in loving mercy, kindness, and gracious compassion, had seen her (even though she wasn't a sparrow, and we all know 'His eye is on the sparrow...') and reached out to her in her need and seen beyond her failures and stooped down and offered her His undeserved salvation. He had been so gracious to her, how could she begrudge her friends a little bread? So what if it had cost her hard work and effort? She had learned 'It is better to give than to receive.' She had experienced God's grace in her life and decided to demonstrate to her lack lustre friends that even in their failure to help, she was going to be generous and kind and extend to them a hand of mercy and compassion.

I'd like for you children to be more like the Little Brown Hen. I want you to willingly serve others and share with them, even when they don't deserve it. I want you to know there are those out there who are stingy with their time, resources and efforts and who want to teach you a lesson by not sharing with you. I want you to be willing helpers and to realise you must do your part in whatever you are asked to do. But if you are ever in the position of the Little Red, or Little Brown Hen, I want you to imitate the loving kindness of the Little Brown Hen who did not hold her right to withhold bread above her desire to show grace. I want you to be imitators of God, Who daily lavishes us with His love and care."

I'm sure there will be those who disagree and will tell me all about healthy boundaries and such. But mercy triumphs over judgement and I just can't stand the judgementalism of the Little Red Hen. She seems kind of snobby and snooty to me - rubbing her friends nose in their failures. I don't think she was 'Doing unto others as she'd have them do to her...' No, she was too perfect - she would never refuse to help, so she can't relate to the failures of others. So she figured she would set herself up above them and be their moral instructor. Maybe this story was written just so I could get annoyed about it.

Have a good day.

And please, be kind when others fail you. That's how I would want to be treated.


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