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Problems? What Problems Have I Got? - a children's story

by Peter Stone  
9/10/2008 / Family

It was midday, and a warm one at that. This meant that it was time for Ginger the cat to take her midday nap. Of course, Ginger had just finished her midmorning nap, and was already looking forward to having a midafternoon nap after she woke up from her midday nap.

Ginger had found the perfect place for her midday napa cat sized, flat rock at the edge of the garden that was right in the middle of an enticing sunbeam.

After turning around three times on the rock, Ginger lay down with her chin on her paws. She yawned gracefully and let her eyelids droop. This was the life.

Unfortunately, just as she was about to fall asleep and dream about being asleep, Ginger heard angry voices in the garden below. She opened her eyes, and sighed when she saw that Perry the praying mantis had bailed up an ant.

"Is that the best you can do!" said the praying mantis to the ant.

The ant looked at the clump of dirt she had just carried out of her nest, "What do you mean?"

"Ants can carry things that are twenty times their own body weight. Yet here you are, carrying this tiny little clump of dirty. Do you know what you are?" asked Perry.

The ant answered timidly. "No, what am I?"

"You're lazy, that's what you are! Put in more effort next time!" said the praying mantis.

Ginger the cat watched as the poor ant scurried off with her head lowered in shame.

A forager ant carrying a breadcrumb approached the nest, but accidentally tripped and fell headfirst into a worker ant, causing this one to drop her clump of dirt. The forager stepped around the worker and continued towards the nest.

"Now hold it right there!" Perry the praying mantis shouted.

"Who, me?" the ant asked as she stopped running.

"Yes, you, you clumsy little oaf. I could not help but notice that you knocked over your sister, causing her to drop her clump of dirt. Not only did you not help her pick it up again, but you did not even say sorry!" said the praying mantis.

"Oh, I didn't think it was such a big thing," said the ant.

"Do you know what you are?" asked Perry.

"No, what am I?" asked the ant.

"You're selfish and rude! Now start thinking more about others instead of yourself!" snapped the praying mantis.

Ginger the cat felt sorry for the forager ant as she ran towards her nest as fast as she could.

A soldier ant, meanwhile, accidentally stepped on a nursing ant's foot. "What have you got, eight legs!" shouted the nurse. (This is a really bad insult amongst ants. You know, due to them having only six legs, and especially since they are so much cleverer than spiders)

Perry the Praying mantis pounced in front of the nurse. "Now look here"

"That's enough, Perry," said Ginger. Thanks to the praying mantis, she was now fully awake. Precious minutes of her midday nap had been lost forever!

The praying mantis looked up at the orange, striped cat that towered above her. "What do you want, cat? This is none of your business."

Ginger popped out the claws on her right paw. Perry took a step back in fear.

"You know, Perry," Ginger said slowly, "all you do all day is run around picking on other insects' faults."

"Someone's got to show them the error of their ways!" said Perry.

"Actually," said Ginger, "there is one bug in the garden who behaves worse than all the others."

Perry was interested, "Quick, tell me who it is and I'll go and set them right!"

"It's you," Ginger said.

The praying mantis was shocked. "Me?"

"Yep. You spend so much time focusing on all the other bugs problems, that you completely ignore your own much greater problems."

"Problems? What problems have I got?" asked Perry.

"For starters, you're arrogant and rude," Ginger explained kindly. "Instead of acting like you are better than everyone else, and constantly criticising them, you should be helping and encouraging them. Now, why don't you go and think about that for awhile."

While Perry scuttled off to think these things through, Ginger closed her eyes and finally drifted off to sleep.


Matthew 7: 1-5 (NIV) "Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. "Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye.


Peter Stone, a Bible College Graduate, has an international marriage and two children. Suffers from epilepsy and otosclerosis. He teaches Sunday school and plays the piano in church.

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