Killing With Kindness ?

Once upon a time there was a zoo-keeper. Every day , filled with  pride in his work,  he came along and fed his pelicans. The Pelicans loved him and waited eagerly for his daily visits; they didn’t even have to move very much as the zoo-keeper simply threw the fish straight into the Pelicans’ mouths. 

In the  evenings the zoo-keeper would go home and wax lyrical about how kind and considerate he was. Other keepers threw fish into nearby pools and streams for their animals to hunt but not our zoo-keeper – he was way too kind.  One night however the zoo-keeper went to sleep and never woke up.

The next day the pelicans waited patiently for their provider but he never came. They began to get anxious and very, very hungry. The other keepers  didn’t realize what was wrong or what to do about the situation so they kept throwing the fish into the stream and telling the Pelicans to cheer up, move on, look on the bright side etc.

Soon it was noticed that the Pelicans were depressed, starving and wasting away and so they called in the Zoo Master .

‘Ah ! I know what these Pelicans need,’ he muttered wisely; and off he went to arrange a special delivery.

All the staff at the zoo wondered what on earth could be in the enormous crate that arrived the next day. They opened it up and much to their surprise they found 6 healthy- and very energetic- Pelicans. There was a note pinned to the crate:-

‘Please put these Pelicans in with the sick ones and continue feeding as normal’

And so that’s just what they did because no-one disobeys the Zoo Master.

The next day the hungry Pelicans watched as their healthy new companions swam into the water and swooped across the surface with their long bills open. They fed, quite naturally, on the fish that were in the water and swooped happily around the enclosure.


On seeing such a habit, the sick pelicans found their way into the water too, and swept up many fish with their bills. Soon their hunger was abated and they daily took to the water. They began to remember the days before the kind zoo-keeper had come along ; the days when they could swim, gather fish for themselves and even fly!

A few weeks later the  Zoo Master came to visit and all the keepers were keen to show him how well the Pelicans were. They were, of course, well fed and very happy.

The Zoo Master smiled and explained to the keepers  that:-

”Helping the Pelicans with too much kindness only served to make them helpless. It is best with all living things that they learn by example how to live healthily”

Prayer for Today 

Dear Lord,

Give us wisdom to know when our ‘acts of kindness’ are causing our children to become too dependent on us.

Help us to let go and let them find out how to do things on their own. 

May we find complete joy in watching them develop and mature.

Be there for them when they make mistakes, and give us the perfect peace that comes through the knowledge that you love them even more than we do. 

Teach us how to be effective parents so that they always remember us as good healthy role models. 



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