A young woman was grumbling to her mother about life and how things were so hard. It seemed that, as one problem was solved, a new one arose. Her mother took her to the kitchen. She filled three pots with water and placed each on a high fire. When the water came to a boil, she placed carrots in the first pot, some eggs in the second, and in the last she placed ground coffee beans. After twenty minutes, she turned off the burners. She removed the carrots and placed them in a bowl. She placed the eggs in another bowl and ladled the coffee into another. Turning to her daughter, she asked, "Tell me, what do you see?"
"Carrots, eggs, and coffee," the young woman matter-of-factly replied. The mother brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She did and noted that they were soft. She then asked her to take an egg and break it. After peeling off the shell, she observed that it had become a hard-boiled egg. Finally, she asked her to sip the coffee. The daughter smiled as she tasted its rich aroma. The daughter then asked, "What does this all mean, mother?"
Her mother explained that each object had faced the same adversity - boiling water - but each reacted differently. The carrot went in strong, hard and unrelenting. However, after being subjected to the heat, it softened and became weak.
The egg had been fragile and delicate, with a thin outer shell to protect its liquid interior. But after twenty minutes of boiling, it turned hard inside!
However, the ground coffee beans were unique. They had, in fact, transformed the water into something else.
"Which are you?" the mother asked. "When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a carrot, an egg, or a coffee bean?"
Think: which am I? Am I the carrot that seems strong but, come difficulties, do I wilt and become soft and lose my strength? Am I the egg that starts with a malleable heart, but changes with the heat? Did I have a fluid spirit but, after some kind of hardship, does my shell look the same, but on the inside am I bitter and tough with a stiff spirit and a hardened heart? Or am I like the coffee bean? One who is like the bean can learn to overcome challenges, get better and change the situation when things are at their worst.
Adapted from http://www.rogerdarlington.co.uk/stories.html#Story12
(Accessed 12 April 2011)