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It’s Not My Problem

Published online: Aug 24, 2020 Articles Susan Stucki
Viewed 7974 time(s)

Illustrating the belief, “It’s not my problem,” is a boat on water. 

With a hole in the bottom of the stern, the desperate passengers on that end of the boat are frantically bailing out the water to avoid impending doom. At the bow, the smugly smiling passengers are boasting, “I am sure glad the hole isn’t in our end...” 

Whose problem is it, really?

The following parable demonstrates how one’s problem can ultimately affect many others.

A mouse peeked through the crack in the wall to see the farmer and his wife open a package. Curious, the rodent watched as the mysterious box was opened. What delicious food might be inside? 

As the farmer and his wife unwrapped the mysterious package and pulled out the contents, the rodent was horrified to discover that inside that box was a mousetrap. Terror surged through him. He had heard of the potential of such a trap.

Urgently rushing to the barnyard, Mr. Mouse screamed the warning: “There is a mousetrap in the house! There is a mousetrap in the house!”

The contented chicken, Ms. Hen, clucked and scratched, then slowly raised her head and squawked, “Mr. Mouse, I can tell this is a grave concern to you, but it is of no consequence to me. I cannot be bothered by it. It is not my problem.”

The mouse turned to Porky, the enormous pig, and screeched, “There is a mousetrap in the house! There is a mousetrap in the house!” The malodorous pig sympathized, snorted, then squealed, “I am so very sorry, Mr. Mouse, but there is nothing I can do about it. Be assured you are in my thoughts, but it is not my problem.”

Now frantic, Mr. Mouse turned to Bessie the cow pleading, “There is a mousetrap in the house! There is a mousetrap in the house!” Contentedly chewing her cud, she mooed, “Wow, Mr. Mouse I’m sorry for you, but it’s no skin off my nose. It is not my problem!” and returned to idly laying in the corral. 

Fear-filled, the dejected mouse returned to the house to face the farmer’s mousetrap alone.

That very night there was a crashing, crushing snap heard throughout the house; it was the sound of the mousetrap catching its prey. The farmer’s wife had rushed to see what was caught in the trap. In the darkness, she did not see it was a venomous snake’s tail that had been caught in the snare. The lethal snake reached out and bit the farmer’s wife. The farmer rushed her to the hospital, and she returned home with a fever. 

Everyone knows you treat a fever with fresh chicken soup, so the farmer took his hatchet to the farmyard for the soup’s main ingredient.

But his wife’s sickness continued, so friends and neighbors came to sit with her around the clock. To feed them, the farmer butchered the pig.

Unfortunately, the farmer’s wife did not get well; she died. So many people came for her funeral, the farmer had the cow slaughtered to provide enough meat for all of them. 

The mouse looked upon it all from his crack in the wall with great sadness.

Our recent lifestyles were altered by staying home, distancing socially and wearing masks. Many chose to be part of the solution, intent to help solve the problem. With hopes those adamant recommendations would help the situation, they complied as the pandemic was, indeed, a communal problem. In this world we share with other inhabitants, one’s problem can create a ripple effect on many. But we can be part of the solution. If the boat is sinking, we can help plug the hole. If there is a fearful trap in a neighbor’s life, we can extend a hand. We must never allow the belief ‘it’s not my problem’ to become part of our mentality! 


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