Jacob liked his new friend. He named him Herman. But Herman could not jump. All he could do was crawl. Jacob tried to teach him by talking to him, “You can do it, Herman. Jump,” Jacob would say. But Herman didn’t jump.
Jacob asked his older brother for help. Jacob’s brother walked over to the tank and yelled, “Jump, Herman!! Jump!!” Herman quickly crawled and hid in his shady area.
“Well, that didn’t work,” said Jacob. His brother shrugged his shoulders and left the room.
The next day Jacob asked his friend Max for help. Max walked over to the tank and shook it. The branch wobbled, the leaves swayed, and water spilled everywhere. Herman held onto his perch, wide-eyed and let out a loud croak.
“Well, that didn’t work,” said Jacob. Max shrugged his shoulders and picked up a toy.
Later, Jacob asked his sister’s friend, Emily for help. But she did not walk over to the tank. She just said, “Eww. You have a frog? Gross!”
“Well, that didn’t work,” said Jacob. Emily shrugged her shoulders and ran out of his room.
Jacob was sad. He wanted to teach Herman to jump. He wanted him to have fun and play and enjoy being a frog.
That weekend Uncle Joe visited him to see how Herman was doing. He saw Jacob sitting on his bed, “What’s wrong, Jacob? Don’t you like your frog?”
“Yes,” Jacob said. “But Herman can’t jump. All he can do is crawl. I asked my brother for help, and he just yelled. I asked my friend Max; he shook the tank. Emily got scared and ran away. I don’t know what to do.”
“Let’s try something different,” said Uncle Joe. He walked over to the tank and pulled a box of crickets out of his pocket.
Herman was sitting near his water dish at the bottom of the tree branch.
“Hello, Herman,” said Uncle Joe. “Are you hungry?”
Uncle Joe set the cricket upon the branch. Herman looked up at Uncle Joe then at the cricket. Jacob walked over to the tank and watched. To his surprise, Herman leaped in the air and landed on the branch and ate the cricket.
Jacob’s uncle sets another cricket up higher on the branch. Herman did as he did before; he leaped high in the air and landed near the cricket. He ate it and croaked. Then two more jumps later he was back in the water dish.
“Hey, that worked,” said Jacob with a smile.
“All you needed to do was give him a reason to jump,” said Uncle Joe. “Once he was ready to jump, he jumped. Yelling did not help, shaking his tank did not help, and running away did not help. Herman needed a reason to do what he was created to do.”
Now Herman jumps everywhere. He jumps onto his branch; he jumps over the rocks; he jumps into his water dish with a big splash. Jacob loves to watch his friend have fun being a frog, doing the thing he was created to do.
Originally published May 29, 2019.