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  • Writer's pictureGretchen Siegfried

Be A Lobster

Updated: Jan 21, 2023

As I narrow down on the specific fables we will highlight in "Stories in Flight," I am reminded of Arnold Lobel's version of Aesop's fables, in particular the "Tale of the Lobster and the Crab." It's one I am very familiar with as I read it to my son over and over when he was young. He would howl with laughter as I exuberantly played out my character voices for the adventurous, optimistic lobster and the fretful, pessimistic crab. Despite stormy seas and a leaky boat, the lobster remained unflappable. In fact, he seemed to almost relish the adversity. As the crab cries that the boat is sinking, the lobster replies “Yes, of course, we are sinking. This old boat is full of holes. Have courage, my friend. Remember, we are both creatures of the sea.” In the short lecture, "What We Can Learn From Lobsters About Stress", Rabbi Dr. Abraham Twerski shares that lobsters have times where they need to shed their protective shell. This shedding of their armor leaves them stressed due to their vulnerable state but ultimately they must go through that process in order to grow. He suggests that we learn from this as times of stress can also be times for growth and "...if we use adversity properly, we can grow through adversity."

It is crucial that we approach adversity like the lobster not the crab. Rather than fear in the uncertainty, we need to shed our walls of protection and allow ourselves to deal with the discomfort of vulnerability. As Brené Brown discusses in her TED Talk, "... have the courage to show up when you can't control the outcome." This is how we build resilience and trust in ourselves. Here's to all of us crushing stress like crustaceans! Growing large like lobsters!

The Lobster and the Crab from Fables by Arnold Lobel

On a stormy day, the Crab went strolling along the beach. He was surprised to see the Lobster preparing to set sail in his boat.

“Lobster,” said the Crab, “it is foolhardy to venture out on a day like this.”

“Perhaps so,” said the Lobster, “but I love a squall at sea!”

“I will come with you,” said the Crab. “I will not let you face such danger alone.”

The Lobster and the Crab began their voyage. Soon they found themselves far from shore. Their boat was tossed and buffeted by the turbulent waters.

“Crab!” shouted the Lobster above the roar of the wind. “For me, the splashing of the salt spray is thrilling! The crashing of every wave takes my breath away!”

“Lobster, I think we are sinking!” cried the Crab.

“Yes, of course, we are sinking,” said the Lobster. “This old boat is full of holes. Have courage, my friend. Remember, we are both creatures of the sea.”

The little boat capsized and sank.

“Horrors!” cried the Crab.

“Down we go!” shouted the Lobster.

The Crab was shaken and upset. The Lobster took him for a relaxing walk along the ocean floor.

“How brave we are,” said the Lobster. “What a wonderful adventure we have had!”

The Crab began to feel somewhat better. Although he usually enjoyed a quieter existence, he had to admit that the day had been pleasantly out of the ordinary.

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