This fable attempts to articulate something that has been impressed upon me lately as I watch my babies grow. As much as my family needs my income and I enjoy my work, I must never lose sight of what is most important.
The Groundhog loved being a mom to her baby groundhogs. She spent time cuddling at night and frolicking with them during the day. Sometimes Groundhog wasted time that could have been better spent readying the burrow for winter, just playing with her young.
The Hen, conversely, was busy and responsible. Not a moment was wasted when there was work at hand. If her chicks chirped at her to come play, she told them she was busy finding beetles for them. She made sure they would have more than she did as a chick, and that the other chickens wouldn't look down on her family. Thus she didn't allow their childlike antics distract her from providing for her brood.
One day, Groundhog saw the hen busy working while her children played nearby. "Hen, don't you want to play with your chicks now-- they are so much fun while they are young!" she said with an encouraging smile.
"Groundhog, I for one don't know how you can sleep in your barren burrow at night knowing winter's a-coming and you could've spent more time building a better nest. The children will wait, and I must work to give them a better life."
The groundhog's babies grew up, as did the hen's. Groundhog's young moved into burrows nearby and frequently were seen chattering with their older mother during the day. They took time from their jobs to be with her, just because it was fun.
The hen's children, though, were busy with their new lives, some in faraway places and some nearby. They saw their mother occasionally, but there wasn't time to be wasted. After all, they had important responsibilities now and much to accomplish.
When it comes to children, time is the most precious investment.