An Open Letter to Chicken Little

Photo by Toni Cuenca on Unsplash

Dear CL,

I saw you in front of some adults today. You were very upset, and said your childhood was being stolen — and indeed it is. No child should suffer like this.

I’m sure some adults in your life have been telling you the “sky is falling”, and that there’s only “a little time left to save the planet”. I’m sure you feel the weight of the world on your shoulders. It must be very stressful.

It may help to know that adults have been saying things like this for a long time! I remember when I was in school, a man named Harold Camping claimed Jesus was coming back on May 21st, 2011. He sounded very smart, and even had a radio show! A few people took him seriously, and sent him lots of money to help spread the news!

On May 22nd, a funny thing happened.

Nothing happened. Jesus didn’t come back, and the world didn’t end!

Mr. Camping was VERY embarrassed! He hid inside his home for a whole day, before coming out and telling everyone it would actually happen NEXT year! That’s why he needed to keep all the money everyone had sent to him! Needless to say, lots of people were angry with Mr. Camping, and stopped paying attention to him.

Maybe it will help to know that people have been saying “the sky is falling” for years and years! Here’s a newspaper clipping from the year 1969. Doesn’t it sound familiar to what people are saying today? Looking back, this article seems kinda silly.

Sometime in the 1800’s, a children’s story was written about “Henny Penny”, a little hen that thinks the sky is falling because an acorn fell on its head. Trying to help save the world, the little hen runs around warning everyone of their impending doom. Henny thinks that by making everyone afraid, it will help some how!

That’s when a cunning fox enters the story. You see, the fox understands that scared people don’t make good decisions. In fact, scared people start making BAD decisions! Taking advantage of their fear, the fox leads all the animals out to the woods. Once they are alone, he eats them one by one.

Mr. Camping and Dr. Ehrlich were both foxes. They knew they could tell scary stories and get frightened people to give them money and power. The funny thing is that there was a little grain of truth to their stories. Many people believe Jesus will come back one day, and taking care of our planet is important. True as these things are, it didn’t make what Mr. Camping and Dr. Ehrlich did right.

If you look around, it won’t take very long to start noticing adults who try to lead with fear. Not all of them are foxes! They might be trying to help, just like Henny Penny. There might even be something true to their message! However, a message of fear and anger just makes life easy for Mr. Fox down the road.

In any case, the fate of the world is definitely not your responsibility. It’s ours, as adults. That’s why I wrote this letter to you! There are many people in the world who would lead it to ruin with panic, and I’d like to keep them at bay for your sake. So if anyone tries to scare you into doing something, tell them to take a hike!

Anyways, I’m sure you’re very tired after your long day. I hope you get some rest. Maybe when you’re feeling better, you can take a look at some of these scary stories, and have a good laugh at them. I know I did.

Tim builds circuit boards in Virginia Beach, and enjoys writing about current events, history, theology, and philosophy.

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