Green River Star -

By Lu Sweet
Western Wyoming Community College 

Lifelong learning: it could have been worse


I have several little children in my house and we enjoy our evening reading time together. One of our favorite books right now is called “It Could’ve Been Worse,” by A.H. Benjamin and Tim Warnes. The book is about a little mouse who is returning home to his mother, after a day out exploring. On the way home he encounters some trouble. Each time he is faced with a situation he grumbles and complains “why me?”

What little mouse is unaware of, is that each of these seven situations he faces throughout the book, could have been much worse for him. For instance, as little mouse is walking across a field he falls into a small hole at the exact moment that a huge bird is swooping down to snatch him up. Mouse only knows that he fell in the hole. He does not realize that right when he fell into the hole, the bird crashed into the ground and was dazed, and therefore unable to make the mouse his victim. The mouse’s fate could’ve been much worse than just falling into the hole.

Later little mouse continues walking across the field and is soon followed by a fox. Just as the fox is about to bite mouse, mouse steps on a branch which then flips up into the air and knocks down a beehive in a nearby tree. The mouse complains about stepping on the branch because he hurt his foot a little bit. Again he utters, “why me?” Mouse does not realize that the beehive fell on the fox, and the fox is no longer a threat to him because he is running from the bees.

I have read this book to my kids dozens of times and know it nearly by heart. Every time I read it with them, I remind myself that no matter if something “bad” happens in my day, usually things could be worse. This morning I woke up to frost on my car windows, but it could’ve been worse.

Instead of warming up my car and scraping the windows, there could’ve been icy roads, freezing winds and lots of snow for me to shovel as well.

I work with student-athletes at Western who really love playing their sport of course. A while ago one of the women’s basketball players was sitting on the bench unable to play because of a sprained ankle. She was feeling sorry for herself and she was complaining. Then she noticed a gentleman sitting on the other side of the gym watching the game. He was sitting in his wheelchair. He had no legs. Even though her ankle hurt and she was understandably disappointed about not playing, she realized her situation could’ve been much worse.

As we all approach this holiday season, it is a time to give thanks and remember that we are lucky for the things we do have - our family and friends, our jobs, our health and other things we sometimes take for granted, until we don’t have them anymore.

I’m going to continue to remind myself of that when I find myself complaining about things that might not be going my way, because most likely they could be much worse. Here’s hoping you and yours enjoy each other and what you do have this holiday season as well as what you have each and every day of the year.


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