There’s a tale of an elephant that sounds kind of crazy—
Sitting on a nest for a bird named Mayzie.
She’d be gone but a minute, or so said the bird;
But once she flew off, she went back on her word.
Yet the elephant stayed put for months, weeks, and days;
Through hail and through sleet and the sun’s burning rays.
For he’d given his word and he said what he meant,
And he stayed ever faithful one hundred percent.
We all know people like the fickle bird Mayzie—
Unreliable folk that are all sorts of lazy,
People you can count on to NOT follow through,
Those with the “talk” but not enough “do”.
What we really need more of is the elephant kind—
Those with a firm, unwavering mind,
Those that are true no matter the cost,
Even when it seems that all hope is lost.
So say what you mean and do what you say—
Day after day after day after day. . . .
Be the person who will never relent;
Choose to be faithful, one hundred percent!
I like many of the Dr. Seuss books. I like the whimsical rhymes and the invented words. Many have a good message too. One such book is Horton Hatches the Egg. It tells the story of a bird that gets an elephant to sit on her nest while she takes a quick break, only she flies off and doesn’t come back. The elephant decides to stay put because he gave his word, despite encountering many hardships.
On my mission, the mission president’s wife read Horton Hatches the Egg in zone conference one time. It was memorable for two reasons. First, she would read one page and then show the pictures while her husband translated the text into Spanish for the native-speaking missionaries. The translation got a little humorous and it was definitely out of the ordinary. Second, the message of being 100% faithful really resonated with me at that time. More than reading a simple story, the mission president’s wife was trying to teach the message: decide now to be true and remain true no matter the cost, not just as a missionary but, more importantly, for the rest of your life. Be true to yourself, be true to the gospel, be true to the truth, and be true to God.
I went out to my parent’s house the other day. I walked into the living room, and Mom was sitting on the couch reading Horton Hatches the Egg to my nephews. Suddenly I was sitting on a hard church bench in a muggy Panamanian chapel listening to my mission president’s wife read. I remembered the message. I remembered how I felt. I remembered the Spirit that was there. I remembered what I learned.
My nephews are still quite young, but I hope they learn too.
Written: January 2016