Do you remember the story of Chicken Little? Maybe you remember her as Chicken Licken or Henny Penny. It is a children’s story that has been around for decades and has several variations and morals.
If the story is fuzzy in your memory, I will give you a little refresher. Chicken Little was walking under an oak tree one day when an acorn fell on her head. She became very alarmed, believing that a piece of the sky had fallen and bonked her.
So Chicken Little sounded the alarm to any of her friends who would listen to her, “The sky is falling! The sky is falling!” she warned them one by one—Ducky Lucky, Goosey Loosey, Turkey Lurkey, and Gander Lander, to name a few—and they all formed a parade to take the message to the king.
Chicken Little’s friends picked up her emotional alarm and away they went with their dreaded message that “The Sky is falling” even though there was no truth to it. There was no danger. Only an acorn had fallen onto the chicken’s head, and no permanent injury had been done. Yet they marched on, with more joining the procession, proclaiming “The sky is falling!” without anyone taking time to check out the facts.
There are different endings to the story, but most often, the story ends with Foxy Loxy tricking the travelers and gobbling them up one by one.
Several morals are also ascribed to the story:
- Don’t be afraid when something hits you on the head.
- Check out the facts before pulling others into your situation.
- Just because someone says so, it does not mean the sky is falling or that the world is coming to an end!
- Everybody does not need to know your business—especially if the facts are not accurate.
Perhaps you have known people like Chicken Little, maybe even some of your own friends or family are like her! Some people seem to see the world through grey glasses and believe that every acorn that lands on their heads is a piece of the sky.
Chicken Littles like to pull others into their dilemmas and stretch their “acorns” into something bigger than they originally were. Chicken Littles are like “pot stirrers” that create anxiety and keep relationships in turmoil.
I have known some Chicken Littles during my lifetime, and I try to avoid begin around them any more than necessary—I prefer peace. They can make a family crisis out of nothing or turn a friend against another by tattling a story—“The sky is falling! The sky is falling!”
So you may be wondering if the story of Chicken Little has anything to do with grief or losing someone we love. Indirectly, I believe it does. After a loss, I believe there is a need to guard our hearts that have been wounded. After a loss, we need time to heal without being bombarded with negative messages that can make life more difficult.
After my husband died, I had less patience with negative people. My feelings were raw. My spirit was wounded. I was less tolerant of messages of the “pot stirrers” who liked to keep negativity in motion.
So the moral of the Chicken Little story is this. After a loss, it is all right to deliberately choose who you hang out with. You can choose whose stories you listen to. After a loss, you may have less emotional energy anyway, so spend your time and energy with people who build you up, who don’t tear you down.
In a sense, after a loss, you may feel like your sky has already fallen. So take care of yourself and avoid the gloom and doom of others’ falling skies. Fill your thoughts with good thoughts, positive thoughts—thoughts that are honest and good, and ignore the negative. Hang out with those who care about you, and ignore the Chicken Littles—you’ll be glad you did.
Call about the next "Living Life after Loss" Group at:
Meadowlark Hospice 709 Liberty Clay Center, Kansas
Dawn Phelps, RN/LMSW, Group Facilitator