July 28, 2008

Lessons from a Rabbit

I noticed that yesterday was the anniversary of Beatrix Potter's birth. Although I am enchanted with all of her stories and illustrations, The Tale of Peter Rabbit is the story that immediately comes to mind when I think of her.

'Now, my dears,' said old Mrs. Rabbit one morning, 'you may go into the fields or down the lane, but don't go into Mr. McGregor's garden: your Father had an accident there; he was put in a pie by Mrs. McGregor.'

With that said, where was the first place Peter ran off to? Yes, Mr. McGregor's garden. I read this story many times when I was younger. I remember marveling at his courage and gasping at his disobedience. Right after he was told not to, he went into the very garden where his father had perished. Peter's curious and mischievous nature nearly cost him his life. Fortunately the story has a good ending. Even though I was young, I understood that there are consequences to our actions, and sometimes they aren't very pleasant.

How many times have I found myself in Peter's situation? Faced with multiple choices, I have allowed my curious and mischievous nature to be my guide. I have gone 'under the fence' instead of to 'the fields or down the lane.' I have chosen the path that has led to unhappy and painful consequences.

The story ends with Peter barely making it home alive and dropping to the floor in pure exhaustion. We never learn if that was the last of his misadventures. Hopefully he learned his lesson, for I know I have.

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