2010 Sejong Writing Competition

Winning Entries :: Essays :: Junior third place

Victoria Tu

The great American writer, poet, and activist James Baldwin said, "Children have never been very good at listening to their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them." The Green Frog is a Korean folktale in which a small amphibian learns this important lesson about life. Of all the characters in the stories that I’ve read, the one I identify with the most is the green frog because he wants to be his own person and independent, but he also realizes that sometimes it is best to follow his mother’s lead.

First of all, sometimes the green frog fails to respect his mother’s point of view. As the story says, “The green frog never listened to his mother, and when she told him to do something, he always did the opposite.” Like the green frog, I sometimes fail to respect my own parents’ opinions. For example, I’m not allowed to hang out with friends on school days, except for Fridays. I often become frustrated with this rule because I don’t understand why they are so strict. Although they probably have their own reasons, I can’t seem to follow their thinking.

Second of all, the green frog is stubborn because he desires independence and wants to show his individuality: “If his mother told him to play in the hills, he went to the river. If she told him to go up, he went down. If she told him left, he went right. If she told him this, he did that.” In this way, the green frog and I are alike; I too am stubborn because I want to demonstrate by own talents, which may distinguish me from the other members of my family. For example, I agree with my mom that I should do well; however, sometimes I feel like she wants me to follow her own interests. To illustrate, I’d like to play sports, but my mom feels it’s more important to concentrate on academics and music. While I agree that school and the development of my musical abilities are crucial to my future, sometimes it is difficult to understand why my parents and I cannot see eye to eye. I sometimes want to pursue hobbies that my parents don’t encourage me to do. This is one way that I can help develop myself as an independent person.

Finally, although the frog may disagree with this mother initially, later the frog realizes that his mother was right about everything and feels some remorse. According to the story, “Four days later, the mother frog died and the green frog was terribly sad. He blamed himself for her death and he was sorry for all the heartache he had caused her. He knew it was too late to undo all of his past misdeeds, but he could become a good frog for her now. He resolved finally to listen to his mother’s instructions. “I always did the opposite of what she told me when she was alive,” he said to himself, “but now I will do exactly as she told me.” I can relate to the green frog because sometimes I realize that my mom was right and feel some regret for failing to share her views. For example, I feel good when I receive good grades on my report card, and I realize thar studying and working hard really pays off in the end. It’s frustrating to work to get to a goal, but it’s worth it. I can see why my mom wants me to focus on certain things because she always has a good reason.

All in all, although these stories come from long ago, they’re still important today. I hope that all young people out there will be able to listen to their parents after reading this tale from thousands of years ago. Parents always have reasons they do the things they do, and it will pay off in the end.