Aug 28, 2009
Bruce and the Spider
A long time ago there lived a King of Scotland named Robert Bruce. He was a greatly troubled man because his country was at war with England and the English were winning. In battle after battle they drove back the Scottish army until at last the King himself had to retreat to the mountains to save his life.
Wandering desperately through the mountain forests, could and hungry and exhausted, at last the King found a miserable little wooden hut empty and deserted. Glad of any kind of shelter, he lay down on the floor of the hut in deep despair.
‘There is no use in going on,’ he thought. ‘The enemy has thrown back our armies six times. We can never repulse them. I have failed my people. I might as well give up.’
At that moment the King noticed a little gay spider spinning a long thread from one of the rafters. The spider swung along on the thread in an effort to attach the other end to another rafter so he could start spinning his web. But the thread broke and the spider fell to the floor of the hut.
A little dazed perhaps, but with no hesitation at all, the spider climbed up the wall and began spinning again. He kept patiently at it until the thread was long enough. Then he again swung himself to the end of it and tried once more to attach it to the rafter across the corner. But again the spider fell to the floor.
And once more he climbed up and began again.
Six times the spider’s thread broke. Six times he fell to the ground. Six times he began. Six times he failed.
Robert Bruce, the King of Scotland, watched in fascination. He became so absorbed in the little spider’s efforts that for a time he forgot his own troubles.
The spider did not give up even when he failed for the sixth time. He just tried again, and this time, on the seventh try, he was successful. The end of the thread held! The spider attached it to the far rafter and began spinning this web.
Robert Bruce arose and bowed low to the tiny gray creature. ‘O little spider!’ he cried.
‘You have taught me a wonderful lesson in patience and persistence. You were not ready to give up, as I was. No matter how often you failed, you were always willing to try again. Perhaps I too shall win if I keep on trying.’
And so, though he was still cold and hungry and weary, he was no longer disheartened. Watching the spider had given him new strength and courage. He buckled on his sword, gathered together his scattered armies and, with the example of the courageous spider to inspire him, King Robert Bruce led his men, on the seventh try, to victory.
1. Can any worthwhile goal ever be achieved without patience? Give an example of a goal that obviously needs patience to achieve.
2. Give an example of patient & impatient behavior in the following situations: waiting for the bus, dealing with a difficult customer, teaching a student who is a slow learner.
3. Think of some of the advantages of being patient. What are some disadvantages to being impatient?
4. Can you think of a situation where you showed patience and your patience was rewarded? Now try to think of a situation where impatience led you to trouble or difficulty.
5. Think about how patience is helpful in the following areas of life: schooling, raising children, working at your job. Give examples.
6. Would you rather be friends with a patient or an impatient person?