Thursday, June 2, 2011

Franz & Gretal....Not your normal Fairy Tale

Now you might think I am going to tell you a happy fairy tale about Hansel and Gretal.
Well, I am sorry to say that I'm not! This is a story about the two dogs that my family had growing up, Franz and Gretal. I always wondered WHY my parents bought us dogs, not one of my siblings particularly liked animals and we were all really busy with school, sports and work. However I figured out the WHY, while pondering about the first topic in FOR THE STRENGTH OF THE YOUTH pamphlet, which is AGENCY & ACCOUNTABILITY.

Growing up one of the most common phrases said in my house was "Did you run the Dogs!?" Having grown up in Idaho, our dogs were mainly used for hunting purposes. They were big German Shepard's that we kept in the backyard. Every kid in my family found it such a hassle to go out and let the dogs out of their cage, watch them run for a while, clean up the yard, feed and water them. This was how my parents taught us ACCOUNTABILITY, or the ability to give an answer. Every time they asked us if we had done the chore we had to be able to answer with a YES or a NO. Now, I will not tell you that I told the truth every time :] But when I did not, I sure did get caught! I was able to learn the value of being able to answer in truth, and when I did I was able to build up the trust I needed with my parents that led me to more FREEDOM.
So now to the not so Fairy Tale of Franz and Gretal. Franz was a good dog, he was calm, never bit anyone, and just lived the perfect life of a dog. Gretal on the other hand was the dog from down under! One of the main reasons none of the kids in my family wanted to go out and run the dogs was because of Gretal, none of us minded Franz. Gretal was about to be put down when my dad saw her at the pound. He had no idea about her but decided to save her and bring her home. I was so excited to have another dog, I wanted to be the first one to go out and play with her. Within the first 10 minutes of playing with her she used her BIG teeth and sunk right into my EAR! Obviously we did not get off to a good start, and honestly I can say it was down hill from there.

With time we found that Gretal was a BAD dog. The first few days that we had left her in her cage, she managed to find her way out. She could jump 6 foot fences, she could open gates, and she could dig holes. While I was ready to give up, my dad was not. He put a cover over the kennel, he put a lock on all of the gates, and he filled in all of the holes! However Gretal still found ways. We would have to watch her constantly, and over time we could not even let her out. Gretal would have to stay locked up and maybe get 10 minutes of running a day while Franz could stay out all day. This is when I learned AGENCY. Franz & Gretal were the perfect examples. As I watched Franz be an obedient dog, he enjoyed a lot more freedom. The more
CRAZY Gretal got the more restrictions she had and the more she missed out on. She did not get to go on a lot of hunting trips, long runs, and enjoy times in the sun because she just would not stay inside the fence.

It has been interesting to see them finish out their lives. Franz past away a few years ago after living a very HAPPY life. Gretal is still alive but stuck in the cage, and has a ton of problems running. All of her problems came from jumping the fence, so many times she would get cut on the top of the fence, and now she has tumors because of all of the cuts. I realized that Gretal may have had a few good runs but she did not have the perfect life of a dog because of her decisions. Franz was able to live the perfect dog life because of the decisions he made.

Now thinking about the FOR THE STRENGTH OF THE YOUTH pamphlet, I understand that it is our guidelines, or fence. When we follow in Franz's footsteps we find greater joy, earn more trust from others, and a better understanding for our purpose on this earth. The more that we chose not to follow these guidelines we have restrictions put on us whether it be from parents, leaders, or the consequences of a bad decision.
I now understand WHY we had to have dogs so that I could learn the importance of 
To climb or not to climb, that is the question.

 There is always going to be a choice, and you will always be held ACCOUNTABLE for the choice that you make because God gave us that AGENCY. So think about the consequences before you act, and ask yourself do you want to be Gretal the dog who had no FREEDOM and will be caged until the end, or do you want to be Franz the dog who led the perfect life of a dog?




  1. They need to put that picture of you in the FSOY pamphlet! he he. Love this.