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First Quarter 2000

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What Makes Us Frogs?

To adopt the true attitude of a "Homo sapiens", meaning "wise-man", there are times when one must learn lessons from other creatures of Almighty Allah (S.W.T.). To illustrate this, let us look at this often quoted story of an experiment carried out by some French school children with a frog.

They dropped the frog into a pot of boiling water, whereupon the frog jumped out immediately! Why, because the environment proved distinctly unsuitable for it to stay. But when the frog was dropped into a pot of cold water which was slowly heated up, the frog swam around and around, enjoying the warmth, and adapting itself to the rising heat ....until it quietly boiled to death!

The lesson from the experiment? Things happen gradually and we usually only realise it when it is too late.

What would you do if you woke up in the morning, twenty kilos heavier than you were the day before? Hunt for a doctor? Certainly! But when things happen gradually, a kilo this month, a kilo next month, we tend to let it go.

When you overspend on your budget by about a hundred Naira in one day, it’s no big deal. But if you do it again tomorrow, and the next day, and the next, you end up broke. For people who go broke or put on weight it usually isn’t one big disaster — it’s a bit today and a bit tomorrow — and then one day, people start asking: "What happened?!"

What would you think of a man who discovers that his son or daughter has bought a real gun and is ready to shoot anybody whose face he doesn't like? Wouldn’t he rush the child to the psychiatric hospital to have his head examined? The truth is that the child’s "madness" could not have started all of a sudden, it must have developed over-time. Could it have to do with the kind of movies from which the child learned or the violent video games he played, the comics he read, the toys guns he was given or the friends he kept? Could it have been the lack of family attention and values at home that led him to seek stimulation, and release his frustrations elsewhere? Could these be the cumulative factors that gradually crept into the child’s mind and turned him into such a strange and hostile human being?

We cannot afford to be fooled, as the experimental frog was. We must watch our lives and the lives of our children, so that we do not destroy them unwittingly. Must we wait till it is too late before we realise?

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