Be the Pig

“Never make someone a priority when all you are to them is an option.” Maya Angelou

A good friend recently opined on his Facebook page that he preferred pigs to chickens in his life, and his words allude to this fable:

“Once Upon a Time a Chicken and a Pig lived on a farm. The farmer was very good to them, and they both wanted to do something good for him.  One day the chicken approached the pig and said, ‘I have a great idea for something we can do for the farmer! Would you like to help?’

The pig, quite intrigued by this statement, said, ‘Of course! What is it that you propose?’

The chicken knew how much the farmer enjoyed a good healthy breakfast.  He also knew how little time the farmer had to make a good breakfast.  ‘I think the farmer would be very happy if we made him breakfast.’

The pig thought about this proposal.  While not as close to the farmer, he too knew of the farmer’s love for a good breakfast. ‘I’d be happy to help you make breakfast for the farmer! What do you suggest we make?’

The chicken, understanding that he had little else to offer, suggested, ‘I could provide some eggs.’

The pig knew the farmer might want more, ‘That’s a fine start. What else should we make?’

The chicken looked around…scratched his head…then said, ‘ham? The farmer loves ham and eggs!’

The pig, very mindful of what this proposal implied, said, ‘that’s fine, but while you’re making a contribution I’m making a real commitment!’”

And so it is with many of our acquaintances.  Too many people involved in our lives are willing to contribute to a cause, but few are prepared to commit.  The chickens in our lives can casually proffer assistance, but the pigs substantially devote themselves.

Ms. Angelou, perhaps with this fable in mind, urges us to fill our lives with friends who prioritize us, prioritize our lives.  Social Media has made connecting with old friends deceptively easy, and many of us have amassed as many as 5,000 friends on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, or whichever service is in vogue, but science has proven that we can only truly manage 150 relationships—and even that many may be too many

As a person who loves people and seeks meaningful time with too many, perhaps, I try to remind myself that I need to spend more time scuba diving and less time waterskiing in my relationships: make time for family and friends and make each moment count.  In spite of what you may have been told in life, it is actually good, in this instance, to be the pig. Image


5 responses to “Be the Pig

  1. I really love that metaphor of scuba diving versus waterskiing! How did you come up with that? And on another topic, there is a phrase in Finnish that roughly translates to “better than pigs” which basically means the situation is pretty good…just came to mind when I read this. But after reading this I think maybe they need a phrase like “be the pig” instead:).

    • I guess I am Finnish at heart, Karen! Of course, your reference to “better than pigs,” reminds me of a previous post: better to be seen than viewed. The scuba diving vs water skiing imagery is something I heard or read years ago when trying to explain to a colleague what I needed from him in terms of his work–he was doing too much water skiing and not enough scuba diving with the material. I have always remembered and liked it. Thank you for your continued support, friendship, and sweetness: you continue to be a bucket filler, using that ladle to fill instead of deplete.

  2. Christine Aboke

    so true, i dont know if i actually can count a handful of pigs in my life, but again am i a pig in other people’s lives?

    • And that’s the way to think of it: am I committed? Once you commit, then it will be easier for you to surround yourself with other people who are committed. Thank you, again, for reading, and I hope that you will encourage your friends to read and comment as well.

    • Hope that you are returning to read, sister

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