At the men’s session of the April 2019 General Conference, apostle Dallin H. Oaks presented a parable that perfectly describes our course over the past 2 years. You can watch the entire address HERE.
Some decisions are choices between doing something and doing nothing. I heard an example of this kind of choice at a stake conference in the United States many years ago. The setting was a beautiful college campus. A crowd of young students were seated on the grass. The speaker who described the circumstance said they were watching a handsome tree squirrel with a large bushy tail playing around the base of a beautiful hardwood tree. Sometimes it was on the ground. Sometimes up and down and around the trunk.
But why would that familiar sight attract a crowd of students?
Stretched out prone on the grass nearby was an Irish Setter. He was the object of the students’ interest and the squirrel was the object of his. Each time the squirrel was momentarily out of sight circling the tree, the Setter would quietly creep forward a few inches and then resume his apparently indifferent posture. This is what held the student’s interest. Silent and immobile, their eyes were riveted on the event whose outcome was increasingly obvious.
Finally, the Setter was close enough to bound at the squirrel and catch it in his mouth. A gasp of horror arose and the crowd of students surged forward and wrested the little animal away from the dog. But it was too late. The squirrel was dead. (Audience laughs???)
Anyone in that crowd could have warned the squirrel at any time by waving arms or by crying out, but none did. They just watched while the inevitable outcome got closer and closer. No one asked, where will this lead? When the predictable occurred, all rushed to prevent the outcome. But it was too late. Tearful regret was all they could offer.
That true story is a parable of sorts. It applies to things we see in our own lives and in lives and circumstances around us. As we see threats creeping up on things or persons 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 the appropriate warnings or support appropriate preventative efforts while there is still time.
Thank you Elder Oaks for your validation.
Almost everyday we are witnessing the predictable consequences of leaving children unprotected. “We must sound the appropriate warnings.”
Don’t sit silent and immobile. Children are crying out for our voices to be lifted up.
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Together, we are going to save those precious squirrels.