An Old Story that Still Rings True

Dear Reader:

You might be guessing that the “old story” (in the title) refers to the ‘Old woman who lived in the shoe… who had so many children she didn’t know what to do’…. but if you assumed this…you would be wrong. However there is a connection between Mother Goose’s story and today’s story….a story about perspective and life.

“Perspective” (Awakin.Org)

Aaron Zehah

A poor man lived with his wife and six children in a very small one-room house. They were always getting in each other’s way and there was so little space they could hardly breathe!Finally the man could stand it no more. He talked to his wife and asked her what to do. “Go see the rabbi,” she told him, and after arguing a while, he went.

The rabbi greeted him and said, “I see something is troubling you. Whatever it is, you can tell me.”

And so the poor man told the rabbi how miserable things were at home with him, his wife, and the six children all eating and living and sleeping in one room. The poor man told the rabbi, “We’re even starting to yell and fight with each other. Life couldn’t be worse.”

The rabbi thought very deeply about the poor man’s problem. Then he said, “Do exactly as I tell you and things will get better. Do you promise?”

“I promise,” the poor man said.

The rabbi then asked the poor man a strange question. “Do you own any animals?”

“Yes,” he said. “I have one cow, one goat, and some chickens.”

“Good,” the rabbi said. “When you get home, take all the animals into your house to live with you.”

The poor man was astonished to hear this advice from the rabbi, but he had promised to do exactly what the rabbi said. So he went home and took all the farm animals into the tiny one-room house.

The next day the poor man ran back to see the rabbi. “What have you done to me, Rabbi?” he cried. “It’s awful. I did what you told me and the animals are all over the house! Rabbi, help me!” The rabbi listened and said calmly, “Now go home and take the chickens back outside.”

The poor man did as the rabbi said, but hurried back again the next day. “The chickens are gone, but Rabbi, the goat!” he moaned. “The goat is smashing up all the furniture and eating everything in sight!” The good rabbi said, “Go home and remove the goat and may God bless you.”

So the poor man went home and took the goat outside. But he ran back again to see the rabbi, crying and wailing. “What a nightmare you have brought to my house, Rabbi! With the cow it’s like living in a stable! Can human beings live with an animal like this?”

The rabbi said sweetly, “My friend, you are right. May God bless you. Go home now and take the cow out of your house.” And the poor man went quickly home and took the cow out of the house.

The next day he came running back to the rabbi again. “O Rabbi,” he said with a big smile on his face, “We have such a good life now. The animals are all out of the house. The house is so quiet and we’ve got room to spare! What a joy!”


Isn’t it wonderful when we open ourselves up to new possibilities and particularly new perspectives? In a nutshell isn’t this the basic problem in our country today….two divided perspectives….and little tolerance or patience to try to understand the other’s way of looking at things and why. (More importantly being willing to look for commonalities instead of differences. This means looking for core values that we all can agree upon.)

We have been given guidelines through scripture and human experiences to know when we see wrongdoings going on in front of us…we all know the values Christ showed us while here on earth…and I seriously doubt if any of us can honestly look in the mirror and justify the travesties in our daily lives, not only in our country, but around the world.

Poor God…I think He must be appalled to have His Name linked with so many ambiguous decisions that still leave out all His children and their needs on this planet. If united, we could spend our lives helping to bring a better balance to the lives of others in desperate need whose gift of life is just as sacred as ours…then maybe all this other squabbling would de-prioritized; instead we could spend our time improving and even saving other human lives. That is what I would like to see greet me on the front pages of our newspapers.

No more finger pointing, ranting, and raving over “more” …instead we could hold hands and promote sharing the resources we have been so blessed to receive. God keeps giving us so many chances to do just this…I believe “Patience” and “God” must be Synonyms.

In fact I doubt with each child that the ‘old woman in the shoe’ felt more crowded…she just felt more needed. And if you have gone through or are about to go through the “empty nest” phase of life…you soon realize that all the chaos and loudness of children and teenagers in the home is sorely missed.

Now you can have the clean, organized home you always wanted…at the expense of silence. Like the lesson in  the Monkey Paw story…”Be careful what you wish for…it might come true.

So until tomorrow as Oscar Wilde once said, “Nothing worth knowing can be taught.” It is the experiences we weather in life that become the true teacher…that helps to define us.

Each stage of our lives brings new knowledge and wisdom….and if we learn from our mistakes and and are open to new perspectives…then our blessings abound amid our growing gratitude for the most sacred experience called life.

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

My morning glories have finally started growing along the string to the other section of the fence…it only took all summer to do this but again…the garden is teaching me patience.

A variety of gorgeous birds keep coming to the “Little Bird Chapel” but I keep missing my opportunity to catch one on top of the chapel or eating inside…again…patience…I will get one when the time is right.


The cute little “crab” dress of Eloise’s and the boys’ “crab” swimming trunks looked adorable this past weekend when Sarah took pictures of the family…


About Becky Dingle

I was born a Tarheel but ended up a Sandlapper. My grandparents were cotton farmers in Laurens, South Carolina and it was in my grandmother’s house that my love of storytelling began beside an old Franklin stove. When I graduated from Laurens High School, I attended Erskine College (Due West of what?) and would later get my Masters Degree in Education/Social Studies from Charleston Southern. I am presently an adjunct professor/clinical supervisor at CSU and have also taught at the College of Charleston. For 28 years I taught Social Studies through storytelling. My philosophy matched Rudyard Kipling’s quote: “If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.” Today I still spread this message through workshops and presentations throughout the state. The secret of success in teaching social studies is always in the story. I want to keep learning and being surprised by life…it is the greatest teacher. Like Kermit said, “When you’re green you grow, when you’re ripe you rot.”
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2 Responses to An Old Story that Still Rings True

  1. bcparkison says:

    I always wished I had a big brother. Lucky little girl to have two.
    The quote is a good positive take on If we don’t know history we are going to repeat it.


    • Becky Dingle says:

      Not only are we going to repeat it….we keep repeating it. Sad but true….but somehow we survive and take lessons with us that do change our perspectives.As long as keep holding God’s hand and growing in His light we are doing okay.

      Liked by 1 person

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