I. Quick, cocky squirrel; big bushy tail—
Running up and down and around as well
The trunk of a Beech in a big campus lawn,
Performing a show he was proud to put on.
II. Dumb Irish Setter lying lazy nearby—
Seemingly disinterested in the chattering guy.
Yet every time the squirrel went behind the tree
The Setter would inch closer, so gradually.
III. Small group of students watching it all—
Each one capable of warning’s call.
This dance could be deadly, they knew that indeed;
Yet, they wondered in silence where it would lead.
I. Now back to the squirrel with his taunting dare;
If the canine came closer, what did he care?
He’d just race back to safety, far out of reach
Up in the limbs of the towering Beech.
II. So, down he descended, his quickness to prove;
But that’s when the Setter made his move.
Faster than lightening he sprang from his pose
And caught the squirrel in his chattering throws.
III. With a collective gasp the students all cried
And rushing forward they frantically tried
To rescue the squirrel but now was too late,
For arrogance and inaction had sealed his fate.
The latter part of my “growing up” years was spent in the country. During this time, we had a dog that was a pointer-cross named Lady. She was a family pet and had no formal training in anything. However, pointers are bird dogs and, to some extent, no training is required. It is in their genes. On more than one occasion I remember seeing her sense a bird in field of tall grass and freeze in the classic “pointer” pose and more than once she brought back a catch.
When I heard the story of the setter and the squirrel, it made me think first on the squirrel. His ultimate demise was ultimately his fault. Knowing the danger that lay, seemingly uninterested, below, he should have just stayed quietly and safely up in the branches. But no, he had to tempt fate. He purposely placed himself in danger. His repeated successful descents, perhaps, gave him confidence in his speed, agility, and smarts. And, yet, his pride, arrogance, and blatant disregard for caution proved his undoing. Perhaps it is good to remember that all who advertise their arrogance to the adversary always end up enslaved by him.
Still, the silent students are not without fault. They could see what was shaping up and still sat silently by. President Dallin H. Oaks said, “As we see threats creeping up on persons or things we love, we have the choice of speaking or acting or remaining silent. It is well to ask ourselves, “Where will this lead?” Where the consequences are immediate and serious, we cannot afford to do nothing. We must sound appropriate warnings or support appropriate preventive efforts while there is still time” (“Where Will This Lead,” President Dallin H. Oaks, General Conference, April 2019 ). Therefore, let us not stand condemned nor feel the consequential remorse of our not offering compassionate council and correction when required.
In summary, whether we are the squirrel or the student, we must ask, “Where will this lead?” And then rightly respond.
Written: April 6, 2019