The Gingerbread Man story teaches a few valuable lessons.
One that you can apply to your own life.
If you don’t know the story, here’s a short recap:
An old, lonely couple living alone with their cat decide one day to bake a Gingerbread Man. When it’s done baking, the Gingerbread Man jumps up and runs away.
“Run, run as fast you can! You can’t catch me, I’m the Gingerbread Man!”
During his escape, he finds animals and humans that all want to eat him but he continues to escape until he meets a fox.
Every character in the story acts as if they own the Gingerbread Man. It’s clear that everyone wants to eat the Gingerbread Man but what gives them the right? This brings up a good question: what merits possession? What are underlining assumption we have that implies possession? For ex: Purchase of a plant, dog, having children, relationships etc.
This teaches a valuable lesson to children — that they can’t have everything they want. And most of all, even if they want it, it doesn’t mean it belongs to them.
Another interesting takeaway is that throughout the narrative each person who told the Gingerbread Man that they wanted to eat him were left with him running away. The fox however just lied and professed the desires of true friendship.
The fox laughed, “I don’t want to catch you, little Gingerbread Man. Why do you run?”
It was through the deceitful gesture the fox was able to get what he wanted. The fox consumed the Gingerbread Man. This also provides an interesting question: When is it okay to lie to someone? This story demonstrates an example of how a lack of integrity can help you get what you want. However, it doesn’t show that the fox has become a well-known symbol of manipulation since the inception of this story, 1875. One would hope that this symbol can now save future gingerbread lives from the lies of the fox. Imagine a world where lies like this are the norm, where you’re constantly being persuaded into doing something that would be harmful to you — what a dark, negative place that would be. It’s clear that if you wouldn’t want it done to you, you shouldn’t do it to someone else.
The most provoking and earnest question is: when is it okay to trust someone? It may be hard to realize when someone is using you for their personal gain or when it can be harmful. Unfortunately, the Gingerbread Man learned in a hard way, costing him his life.
Maybe this is why trust is granted, not earned.
Trust is a gift with conditions.