The Wolves We Feed: A Reflection for Inaugeration Day


wolf-2Do you remember this Cherokee parable?

A grandfather is talking with his grandson and he says there are two wolves inside of us which are always at war with each other. 

One of them is a good wolf which represents things like kindness, bravery and love. The other is a bad wolf, which represents things like greed, hatred and fear.

The grandson stops and thinks about it for a second then he looks up at his grandfather and says, “Grandfather, which one wins?”

The grandfather quietly replies, the one you feed.

January 20 has become a date that many of us are excited about and many of us dread.

It’s a day that all Americans take pride in, as we celebrate the mark of a peaceful transition from one leader to another. It’s democracy in all of its splendor.

It’s a day of parades and music and poetry.  It’s a day that marks a transition into a new era.

It’s supposed to be a day to feel good about being an American, and for many. many people it will be just that. They will feel very proud and excited and hopeful. It will be a great day.

For others, the day will be a day of fear and uncertainty. It will not be such a great day.

For others, it will be neither a good day or a bad day, but a”wait and see day,” a “give him a chance day.”

It would be great if we all had the same day on January 20, if we all felt equally excited and hopeful. But we know that is not going to happen. We are a divided nation and we really don’t want to try to understand each other.  We really don’t want to take Atticus Finch’s advice and walk around in another person’s shoes.  We are too angry to even try.  We are too angry for the past eight years for failed promises and hallow speeches.  We are too angry at the rhetoric that offends and divides.  Which ever side we are on, the last thing we want to do, is try to understand the other person’s point of view.  But, I wonder, if we could be brave enough to try?  I wonder if we could love our country enough to try to heal it?  I wonder if we could all try to feed the same wolf?

Every single one of us, regardless of our political persuasion has these two wolves living in us.  No one person gets through life without both wolves sleeping in our psyches.  When the wolves wake up, we have a choice of which one we feed.  We alone have the option to be feed fear or bravery.  We have the choice between feeding hatred or kindness.

It’s in us to decide the kind of people we want to be and how we are going to live and treat each other in this world.  We can choose to feed kindness, bravery,  and love, but let it be known that you have to choose to feed it. It’s a choice we make every day. If you do not feed it, it will starve.

I believe that most people, are genuinely good at heart. I believe most people  love their kids and  love this country, and want it to be a country that stands for liberty and justice for all…..We all just may not like each other…but we can still choose to be kind to each other.We may not share the same values, but we can find a way to respect each other in our differences.

We  have to have enough self-resolve to feed the wolves we choose to feed.  No one makes us feed hatred, we choose that. No one makes us feel afraid, we choose that.  No one makes us feel greed, we choose that.  We can choose another path.

If we want to feel better on January 21, we as nation have to decide which wolf we are going to feed.

No matter how you feel on January 20: overjoyed or overwhelmed, that is your truth, and it has value and it matters.

But also know this truth, and be equally proud of this;  it’s a truth we all share:

We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal.

 May it be forever so.





  1. Thank you SOO much. I have forwarded this to many of my friends who so needed to hear this message. Most of them are marching on Saturday, as I am…and one of them is protesting in Washington today. We all have to get over the loss of this election and move on somehow…but it is so difficult as it seems that Donald Trump is not going to grow up to fill this important position. He is such an embarrassment. We are already so missing the morality, wisdom, eloquence of Obama.

  2. We as a nation are choosing to feed the wolf that gives us more hope as a nation. As a guy who has this blood running through his veins. Yes i have heard a very similar telling of this story.

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