When Elephants Have Three Legs

Our little preschooler has become such an expert in matters, that she loves to ask questions to test our facts.

“What has a big long gray trunk, a tail, and three legs?” she asked the other night.

My husband, mother-in-law, and I glanced at each other puzzled. “Three legs?” we asked her.

“Yes, three legs,” she repeated with certainty.

She had, in fact, stumped us.

She sighed and lifted one arm to her nose. “It has a trunk like this,” she said very slowly. “And three legs, like this.” She stomped on the floor.

There was a moment of silence. “An elephant?” my husband answered tentatively.

Her eyes lit up. “Yes! You got it! An elephant has a trunk, a tail, and THREE LEGS!”

“But an elephant has four legs,” we explained to her.

She stopped to consider this, counted some numbers in her head, and replied, “No, just three.”


The next morning, on a trip to LEGOLAND, lo and behold, I spotted a blocky replica of just the animal in question. “Look! Go and count that elephant’s legs right now!” I told my daughter.

This would settle it once and for all.

She ran over to the side of the bridge and peered through the bars. “One, two … three!” She turned to us, “See!”

elephant three legs
http://www.invitedbygrace.com LEGOLAND, San Diego

We all took a look. She had a very valid point.

My mother-in-law (“Poa Poa” in Chinese) helped her insistent granddaughter look carefully around the large gray animal and count all of its legs.

“Oh four,” my daughter said, finally. Then she frowned and whispered to me, “Why does it look like it has THREE then?”

Little minds ask big questions sometimes, don’t they?

Perspective is such a powerful thing. I know for me, I can so easily draw quick conclusions about my life, my circumstances, the people in it. I can so easily cling to discouragement and frustration before I understand the whole story. I often need help to stop, to see around, to remember there is a bigger picture that I simply flat-out miss. How many times do I struggle to trust the One whose words promise to stand true, through rain, wind, and storm?

Too many times to count.

How children teach us. 🙂

I did learn something from our little “expert” after all. You don’t have to be a preschooler to have a few three-legged animals in your life too.

three legged elephant
Photo credit: C. Hee, LEGOLAND, San Diego http://www.invitedbygrace.com

 Might you have any three-legged animals in your life that beg for a second look?

This song, Today is Beautiful, has been filling my car lately. The words hit true. Lift your eyes … see it in a different light … today is beautiful.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qdj_w3MxQXo

“So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” ~ 2 Corinthians 4:18

7 thoughts on “When Elephants Have Three Legs

  1. This was a delightful read 🙂

    And so much truth is revealed here about the need to be willing, like a child, to allow God to help us see things from His perspective.

    1. Thank you, Heather! Yes, that is what I was trying to say here … and you summed it up perfectly. We so often need help to see our lives, the trials and struggles especially, from His perspective.

  2. This is beautiful, Kim. How true it is that sometimes we really cannot see the whole picture. For me it is usually because of my attitude or my emotions getting in the way. What a wonderful lesson. I love how you were able to pull such a beautiful lesson out of a simple every day occurrence. Beautiful! 🙂

    1. Yes children are so free to express what they think, and so often it is a little glimpse of our own humanity. My daughter was indeed convinced about the three legs, but thankfully she was able to easily accept the truth! 🙂 Thank you for your great comment!

  3. Thank you so much! Children are amazing teachers. My emotions often get the best of me too! It’s a good thing at times … and yet so challenging to be sensitive! I am glad you enjoyed the post. 🙂

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