Individuals, families, communities, and nations grow stronger as we learn to handle difficulties in positive and uplifting ways. Parents can teach by precept and example that adversity can be good for us and help us become better people. The following story is a wonderful tool to show how adversity can affect different people in different ways.
A young woman went to her grandmother and told her about her life and how things were so hard for her. She did not know how she was going to make it and wanted to give up. She was tired of fighting and struggling. It seemed that as one problem was solved, a new one arose.
Her grandmother took her to the kitchen. She filled three pots with water and placed each on a high fire. Soon the pots came to a boil. In the first, she placed carrots, in the second she placed eggs, and in the last she placed coffee beans. She let them sit and boil, without saying a word.
In about twenty minutes she turned off the burners. She fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl. She then pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl. Then she ladled the coffee out and placed it in a bowl. Turning to her granddaughter, she asked, “Tell me, what do you see?”
“Carrots, eggs, and coffee,” she replied.
Her grandmother brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She did and noted that they were soft. She then asked her to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard-boiled egg. Finally, she asked her to sip the coffee. The daughter smiled as she tasted its rich aroma.
The granddaughter then asked, “What does it mean, Grandmother?”
Her grandmother explained that each of these objects had faced the same adversity – boiling water – but each reacted differently. The carrot went in strong, hard and unrelenting. However, after being subjected to the boiling water, it softened and became weak. The egg had been fragile. Its thin outer shell had protected its liquid interior. But, after sitting through the boiling water, its inside became hardened. The ground coffee beans were unique, however. After they were in the boiling water, they had changed the water.
“Which are you?” she asked her granddaughter. “When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a carrot, an egg, or a coffee bean?” (Author Unknown)
How do you respond to difficult experiences? Are you like the carrot and become soft and weak when adversity hits or do you stand firm, steadfast and immovable? Are you like the egg and harden your heart when difficulty comes into your life or do you keep your heart soft enough to feel the promptings of the Holy Spirit? Are you like the coffee bean and become your best self in difficult times? Do you act to change the world around you or do you let the world change you?
Parents can teach the rising generation to trust the Lord and to stand firm in the face of difficulties. When we stay in tune with God and listen to the promptings of the Holy Ghost, we can strengthen our families, communities, and nations by standing firm on our principles and staying steadfast and immovable in adversity.