My dog recently made a mistake: he injured himself. We don’t know how he did it. He literally put his body part somewhere it didn’t belong and got a nice size cut on it. Dogs are not easy to bandage at all, but especially some parts over others. We’ve been in daily contact with the vet and spent some pretty pennies on this issue, but there really isn’t much even the vet can do.

 

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“The cone of shame” via Disney’s “Up

To make matters worse, he continues to chew on it. This has resulted in an upset stomach, so on top of everything else, he isn’t eating much. He had to be taken to the vet for fluids and we’ve put an Elizabethan collar, or E-collar, on him so he stops chewing on his injury.

 

However, regardless of what the manufacturer advertises, the collar still makes it difficult for him to drink water from his bowl. And I have tried a couple of bowl/stand configurations to make it easier for him.

 

President Monson told a wonderful story one General Conference about lighting a field on fire near a campground. He described how he and his young friends quickly saw their well-intentioned fire circle grow to a fully sized brush fire headed toward some local homes. He described how his friend continued to attack the fire while he ran for help. Adults ran and worked together to put out the brush fire.

 

What do these stories have in common? Don’t turn one mistake into two mistakes. We all mess up. We all sin or forget something or sometimes react without thinking. We have all been triggered by panic or anger or stupidity. We’ve all been there. However, don’t make it worse by chewing on your wound. Don’t make it worse by being so stubborn that you don’t ask for help.

 

If you don’t ask for help to remedy your mistake, the brush fire grows, burns down homes, hurts people, and you end up in jail.

 

If you continue to chew on your wound, it continues to bleed, it upsets your stomach, you can’t eat or drink, then your Mom puts a collar of shame around your neck, and you have no idea what you did to deserve all this. You look pitiful.

 

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Remind you of anyone? Just look in the mirror. You are better than a dog or a pre-teen boy with matches, aren’t you?

 

I think the old adage, “Work smarter, not harder” has an additional meaning beyond using tools appropriately: be smart and get the help you need, when you need it. Forgiveness and repentance and humility are great ways to get that help.

 

 

*The feature illustration for this article is from the children’s book “One Little Match” detailing Thomas S. Monson’s brush fire story. This book can be found on Deseret Book’s website.

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About Molly A. Kerr
Molly is on a life long quest to figure herself out. Born to be and educated as an aerospace engineer she is also blessed to be a wife and a mom of two in the present, previously served as a full-time missionary, is consistently called to teach the youth in her ward, is eagerly though slowly doing home improvement as money and time allow, all while gradually learning how to be herself and find peace and balance somewhere in between. Despite her attempts to make “the right” decisions in her life, she has learned to deal with some unexpected challenges over the last two decades. Total tornadoes, really. What she has discovered is that her career has taught her a lot about the Gospel and being a better mother, and the Gospel, when applied to challenges at the office, has made her a better professional. She has also learned that it is okay to be herself, and God still loves (and forgives) her for it.

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