Outcomes Offered

■ Possibility thinking

■ Reliance on your abilities

■ Enjoyment ofyour success

Sometimes things can be scary. Sometimes we face situations that we doubt we can handle, or wonder how we might do so. Phillipa was a frog, a little frog, who was in just such a position. She lived in a pond with all of her family and a lot of friends, but that wasn't the problem. She could sit on a lily pad and flick out her long, quick tongue to catch a juicy, passing insect whenever she wanted. That wasn't the problem, either.

The problem was that there was a big mean snake that lived near the banks of Phillipa's pond. Mean Mrs. Snake had gobbled up some of Phillipa's friends who hadn't been on the lookout while playing leapfrog on the banks. If a frog happened to be too busy concentrating on a tasty-looking insect, mean Mrs. Snake could have her eyes on that frog as meal for herself.

At times, she would slither into the pond, silently swimming from lily pad to lily pad, looking for big, plump frogs to add to her menu.

Phillipa didn't know what she could do to save herself or the other frogs from mean Mrs. Snake. At first she called on the god of frogs, who said, "I have created you with all that you need to help yourself. As much as I would like to help, sometimes there are things that you have to do yourself."

That wasn't very helpful, she thought, and wondered what else she could do. A frog could leap, but mean Mrs. Snake could dart faster. A frog could swim, but so could a snake. What else, what else? she wondered. Deep in thought, she hadn't noticed how close she had drifted to the shore. Suddenly there was a swish of sound and without even looking Phillipa knew it was mean Mrs. Snake.

Phillipa remembered once hearing a friend say, "If only we could climb the trees." Everyone else replied, "Don't be silly, we're only frogs. Frogs leap and swim. They don't climb trees."

Within the flash of an instant, Phillipa saw a branch above her and leapt with the biggest leap of her life. Her webbed feet spread wide, her hind legs pressed down into the water, propelling her out of the pond and into the air. She reached out with her front legs as she did, grasping the branch and pulled herself up into the tree. The other frogs farther out in the pond watched in amazement as Phillipa climbed her way higher into the branches.

"Frogs are not supposed to do that," she heard one of her doubting friends mutter below. "Not supposed to? They can't!" exclaimed another, not wanting to believe what he had seen. "They can," called back Phillipa, excitedly. "I just did. If I can, it's possible for you to do it, too." The others tried. They leapt from the water but they didn't spread their webbed feet wide enough or press hard enough with their legs and thus fell short of the branch, toppling back into the water with a plop.

"Try harder," encouraged Phillipa.

"We are trying as hard as we can," the others shouted. "It's impossible."

Just then mean Mrs. Snake saw this group ofsplashing frogs, growing more and more exhausted, and thought here was a chance for a ten- or twelve-course dinner. She dived into the water and instantly the branches of the tree around Phillip looked like a Christmas tree decorated with frog ornaments.

"See," Phillipa said triumphantly, "it is possible."

The frogs hung on for dear life, wrapping their legs tightly around the branches, frightened to move, frightened they might fall back into the water, frightened of mean Mrs. Snake lurking below.

When mean Mrs. Snake eventually gave up and left, the frogs felt more confident and climbed their way higher and higher into the tree, where they now felt safe and secure. Not only was it safe, it was fun. It was fun at times to dive back into the deep center of the pond, for once they knew they were capable of leaping from the pond—which they hadn't thought possible before—of course, they were able to do it again.

There are a number of stories that tell how tree frogs first got from their ponds into the trees, but I like this one about Phillipa and mean Mrs. Snake. I also like what Phillipa said to her fellow frogs. She said, "It is possible to believe you can do more than you thought. It is possible to try and try until you succeed . . . and then maybe it is possible to do even more."

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