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The five monkeys

Once there was a troop of monkeys in the jungle swinging in the treetops. High above the jungle floor they found safety from the animals below in the darkness. They realized that their food supply was running low and they had to gather fruit for the next week. The monkey king told a small unit of five to gather enough food for the entire troop and to return as quickly as possible so the troop could eat.

The five monkeys set out on their way and soon came to a mighty river running through the jungle. It was so wide that they couldn’t swing across to the opposing treetops. The only way across the river to the really good fruit was to cross a rotten foot bridge that leaned to the side. The ropes were fraying and the foot boards were rotten or even missing. However, this was the only way across the swirling waters with the crocodiles below, already snapping in anticipation of their next meal.

The monkeys looked at each other and shrugged. One of the monkeys looked closely at the bridge, backed up a few feet and ran full speed,  leaping from side-to-side across the missing planks to safety on the other side. He turned around and motioned for his friends to follow.
The second monkey shook his head, somewhat in disbelief, backed up a few feet and followed the path of the first monkey to safety. He turned around and motioned to the other three to follow.

The third and fourth monkeys were too small to make it across alone, so they decided to help each other succeed. They made their way across the bridge, helping each other to safety, board by board. Once across, they looked back and motioned to the fifth monkey.

Terrified, the fifth monkey shook his head violently at his friends across the river. He knew the path to take and believed he could make it across like his friends; however he was scared and didn’t have faith the old bridge would hold his weight. Suddenly a panther peered out of the darkness and circled the lonely monkey. The four on the other side swiftly returned and beat the panther with sticks until he ran back into the thickness of the jungle floor.

The monkeys looked at each other and one of the younger monkeys started pulling vines off of the trees and together they wove a basket to carry the scared monkey across the river. Soon all five were across the river and on their way to find the best fruit for the monkey troop.

Whether your troop is a family, a group of friends, or teammates at work, we are the five monkeys.

  • Some of us know the way to the destination and have unbridled faith in the journey.
  • Some of us can get there if someone just takes the time to show us the way.
  • Some of us may need a friend to help us to the next step but we will make it.
  • Some of us may need the support of the entire team.

We succeed or fail as a unit – there is no room for heroes or victims. It’s all about the team.

The difference between belief and faith is simple. You can believe you can make it across that river. Faith allows you to take that first step out on the rotten bridge over the crocodiles.

Anything is possible when we look out for the entire troop and have faith to make the journey together.

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