A Tale of Two Rabbits (and an Annoying Daschund)

by Andy Wood on May 29, 2013

in Exploring the Possibilities, Five LV Laws, Insight, Life Currency, LV Cycle, LV Stories, Principle of Freedom

Rabbit and DaschundA good friend and I were talking the other day and he told me about an experience he had in Hong Kong. First I’ll tell you what he saw. Then I’ll tell you a story based on that.  Then I’ll apply it in one of many, many ways you can apply the story.

What My Friend Saw

As he and his group were traveling through the market in Hong Kong, he noticed someone selling rabbits. (Note:  I’m pretty sure they weren’t  being sold as pets.)

There was a cage full of rabbits.  Then on top of the cage there was a single rabbit, just sitting there, motionless.

My friend asked, “Why doesn’t that rabbit run away?”

The answer: Because he’s been in the cage so long he’s forgotten what life outside the cage is like. He assumes there is nowhere else to go.

My Little Rabbit Fable

Once there were two rabbits. Both were raised in captivity.  Both had only known a life within the confines of a cage or pen. But that wasn’t all bad.  They were fed regularly by a caring owner. They were protected inside their cage from animals that would hurt them. They were able to enjoy the company of other rabbits.

One day a terrible storm blew open the cage. Some of the rabbits were killed. But the two rabbits nearest the cage door had a chance to run for their lives.  One chose to stay because the cage was all he had ever known.  He hid as far inside the cage as he could get from the blowing wind and rain. The other rabbit, at first in sheer terror, bolted for the open spaces.

Soon the storm passed. The owner returned to the cage and repaired the door. He took care of the remaining rabbits by giving them food, and even building a cover over part of the cage.  Life went on inside the cage, with plenty of food, lots of new babies soon, and now an even nicer cage.

Meanwhile, the liberated rabbit had a whole world to discover. No longer limited to the walls of the cage, he delighted in exploring this amazing world, filled with new things to learn.

Oh. And he nearly died.  Once because he had never learned to feed himself. There was nothing out in the wild that exactly tasted like Purina Rabbit Chow. And apparently, not everything that was green was good for him.

Another time he was nearly killed by a ferocious daschund who was running at him with a loud bark and those stubby legs. The rabbit had never learned to protect himself from danger. Only at the last minute did he decide to run, and he easily outran the dog.

Happy Ending:  The rabbit eventually learned to forget life in the cage. But only after he truly learned to flourish in his freedom – something most animals, once captive, never learn.

The Fable Applied

Okay let’s have some fun.  There are dozens of ways this little fable can be applied.  Drop a comment below and tell us how you would apply it.  Here’s mine, applied to learning.

I figured out yesterday that I’ve been like the rabbit outside the cage for a good while, and I don’t think I’ve done very well.  At least in a lot of instances.  Let me tell you what I mean.

When I got my master’s degree, I was sick to death of school.  School was the cage for me. At school they told me what to read, what to write, what to know, what to study, and why everybody couldn’t make an A. The evil school I went to insisted that a certain number of people had to make C’s.  Guess who got volunteered for that duty, often?

But I noticed when I got out of school, I had developed a real love for learning, and systems for keeping up with that learning. It was wonderful.

Years passed, however, and knowledge exploded. The world changed in front of me, and I made an important decision. I decided to go back to the cage.  I went back to a world where I was told what to read, taught  how to gather up more knowledge and present it to the world, and most importantly, told how to think like a researcher – a “cage person” – even when I was out of the cage again. I was even told it was my responsibility to contribute to this knowledge.

What?  I just wanted credentials. Not credibility. I wanted the reward of an advanced degree.  Not responsibility.

Out from the cage I flew, back into this vast world of freedom.  Armed with the rewards of the degree, I have been able to teach.  A lot. At last count 164 different classes.  That’s a lot of rabbits! And a lot of cages.  Hopefully I gave those rabbits something, however, that would ensure their success, both inside and outside the boundaries of their learning.

Meanwhile, in my open “forest,” I realized lately I’ve been just grazing.  Here a little. There a little. Not a lot of focus. That’s what the ginormous world of the Internet has created.  A massive forest for nibblers with attention spans the length of a bunny hop.

And so I’m working on changing that.  I’m learning not just to enjoy the freedom, but the responsibilities as well.

I’m learning, again, that to whom much is given, much is required.

I’m learning, again, that in a world where I can find out just about everything,  I have to focus on a few things to truly flourish.

I’m learning, again, that if I’m not continuing to learn, I won’t continue to lead.  Period.

For those of you who are still in school, or who are anticipating going back to finish a degree or get another one, I’m proud of you. But just because you’re getting the degree doesn’t mean you’ll be educated.  The sign of an educated person is not the courses he or she has passed, but the love of learning and growing that he or she has embraced.  And no diploma hanging on your wall can guarantee that.

Learn to live with the responsibilities that go with your freedom.  Feed yourself.  And learn to watch for danger.  Otherwise, you’ll starve to death in a world of abundance.  Or you’ll get chased down by an annoying, stubby-legged mutt called Millennial or something.

Anyway, that’s my application of the fable. I’d love to hear yours.  What does the cage represent to you?  The government?  Your 9-to-5 job? School?  Living at home with the folks? What does it mean to learn to live freely and responsibly?

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Martha Orlando May 29, 2013 at 5:43 pm

My cage for years had a label called “good girl.” It caused me no end of dead ends, broken promises, and heartache. Took me years to unwind from the death-grip pretzel-twist it forced me into.
Thanking Jesus for saving me, for getting through to me, for setting me on the path of love for His righteousness’ sake. Where would I be without Him? Still thinking the “good girl” in the cage was good enough.
And, I’d be miserable . . .
Blessings, Andy!
Martha Orlando´s last blog post ..Confirmed and Connected

Andy Wood May 29, 2013 at 10:45 pm

Wow, Martha, that’s a profound discovery, and I so appreciate you sharing it. Thank God His grace and freedom can even deliver us from our own “goodness.”

Sara @ BestPetReviews October 16, 2018 at 12:24 pm

Wow, that is sad to hear that the bunny didn’t know how to move because it was raised in a cage! That is a cool story you shared! I thought about how we sometimes are afraid of the unknown. But when we have faith and keep moving, it works out great!
Sara @ BestPetReviews´s last blog post ..Best Bedding for Hamsters of 2018: Complete Reviews with Comparisons

Vets in bundaberg April 20, 2019 at 12:23 pm

Thanks for sharing this post. I’m very interested in this topic.

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