2012 Sejong Writing Competition

Winning Entries :: Essays :: Junior second place

Noah Lee, 7th grade

The conventional moral and lesson of “The Green Frog” is, you should always listen to your parents, or there may be bad consequences. I do agree that obeying your parents is key. However, “The Green Frog” is indeed a thought provoking story and there is more to be told than that simple interpretation.

This story is more than a story about a disobeying son and a hapless mother. Both frogs were blindsided to each other’s lives, and they did not attempt to clear the haze and understand why. Instead of ignoring his mom, the green frog should have honestly told his mother what his intentions were and what he was thinking when he did the opposite. The mother was incapable of understanding her son and his intentions. Even on her deathbed when the mother made a strange request, her son did not attempt to ask for the reason, and the mother told her son to just follow the instructions. While the green frog knew it was unwise to bury his mother at the river, he did it just to follow his mother’s instructions. The mother’s thoughts about her son until the time she died were that her son was unwise, and only will do the opposite of what he is told. As much as the green frog did not know his mother, his mother did not know her son. There was no understanding, trust, communication in between the mother and her son, which resulted in such a tragedy. If the mother and frog had communicated and understood each other, she would have truthfully told him her last wish, which was to be buried on the mountainside. Then, the tragedy of the green frog crying in rain when his mom’s grave was washed away would not have happened. The mother frog loved her son and spent her whole life worrying about him. Despite of the mother’s life-long love for her son, it didn’t help in building a strong stable relationship with her most important person. This story shows that what people do need is open and constant communication, even when they don’t agree with each other or approve of each other’s actions. This is critically important in today’s society, where the generation gap isn’t getting any smaller. When the old generation does not understand the new generation’s ideas or different way of behaviors, communication between the generations would be indispensable in bridging the gap, and therefore creating trust and understanding.

In the story, the mother says “Why can’t he be like all the other frogs?” The mom worked hard to get her son to act like the other frogs. He ignored her and did just as he wished. The mother eventually grew ill and eventually died because her son was not like all the other frogs. Disobeying your parents is wrong, and I am not justifying the green frog. However, I don’t think that it is always right to be like the other frogs and that it should be necessary. Is it always proper to follow others? History is full of examples of people who didn’t follow others, and had independent minds. Galileo stated that the earth was round whilst everyone else said it was flat. He went to his grave saying it was round. Martin Luther King Jr. chose not to use violent protests to fight for human rights. He chose not to be like all the other activists who organized violent riots. If we insist that everyone follow what others are doing, those who act and think differently will be excluded. We must have tolerance, and attempt to understand and embrace those who do not follow others so that they can become an asset to our society and help us take a different point of view. Some of them may grow up to become independent thinkers, and future leaders. In South Korea, kids are pushed to the limit studying to perform well on standardized tests and college admissions tests, competing against others to be the best at academics. Most often it is the parents that force their children to study, study, study. I believe that out of the many children being pushed by their parents, there can be a green frog, who doesn’t want to walk the path all the others walk. Instead of being forced to study, and going to private cram schools, some kids may want to pursue a way that is more effective and personalized. However, this requires the right kind of support and understanding from parents and society.

In forming a strong relationship, particularly parent-child, more than love is needed. We need open communication, and through open communication, understanding and trust. Children need trust, even if they don’t act like others, and they need understanding and support, even if they don’t meet their parents’ expectations, so that a tragedy like in “The Green Frog” can be prevented. The green frog was a disobedient and rebellious child, yet if he had been raised with understanding and open communication, maybe on rainy days he would be whistling a tune, thinking of his mother, safe and sound.