Do Not Talk To The Parrot

June 5, 2011

Susan’s washing machine quit working so she called a repairman.

Since she had to go to work the next day, she told the repairman, “I’ll leave the key with my next door neighbor. Fix the washing machine, leave the bill on the counter, and I’ll have somebody send you the payment.

“Oh, by the way, don’t worry about my Rottweiler.  He won’t bother you. But, whatever you do, do NOT, under ANY circumstances, talk to my parrot! I REPEAT, DO NOT TALK TO MY PARROT!!!”

When the repairman arrived at Susan’s apartment the following day, he discovered the biggest, meanest-looking Rottweiler he had ever seen. But, just as she had said, the dog just lay there on the carpet, watching the repairman go about his work.

The parrot, however, drove him nuts the whole time with his incessant yelling and name calling. Finally, the repairman couldn’t contain himself any longer and yelled, “Shut up, you stupid, ugly bird!”

To which the parrot replied, “Get him, Spike!”

That’s what happens to people who do not follow instructions.


Following instructions is simply discipline in action. Discipline is inevitable. We either discipline ourselves, or life brings other people to do it for us.

Don’t you hate those awful pink fences that line up the major streets in our Metropolis? Fences to keep people from jaywalking, fences to keep vehicles in their proper places, fences to keep buses from wandering and the question is why are those ugly fences there in the first place? Because motorists and pedestrians do not want to follow instructions and so somebody has to do something to force us to follow.

Fences enclose. Fences restrict freedom. But the irony behind those fences is that they were put there because of a lot of people’s insistence to do what they want rather than obeying orders and following instructions.


Now there is the great analogy about pink fences and our personal life.

We all long for freedom and the ability to “do whatever I want.” And yet, the successful people who seem to have the most freedom also happen to be the most disciplined, the most focused and self-directed people I have ever met.


Many people think that freedom is the right to do whatever they want, whenever they want, sleep all morning, enjoy happy hour, act on impulse and charge their credit cards to the max. Take a little sip here, take a little drag there, snort it up, gulp it down, inject it into their veins, jump from one bed to another and pretty soon they find themselves  losing the very freedom they want; chained by chaos, conflict and frustration living an undisciplined life that leads to disappointment and pain.

Discipline is inevitable. We either discipline ourselves, or life brings other people to do it for us. We either manage our lives on our own, or we lose the very freedom we cherish.


We either practice self-discipline or pretty soon our creditors “convince” us to work more hours. Our bosses “persuade” us to work harder or longer or smarter. Our families “encourage” us to do our work, fulfill our responsibilities and “behave ourselves.” Taken to the extreme, eventually people with uniforms and titles like “guards” or “warden” will structure our time and our lives for us.


Look at the way we rear up our kids.
Children are not expected to know how to structure their lives, so parents teach them. Parents get them up for school and remind them to make their beds or do their chores. Parents are charged with teaching children that joy is the REWARD for effort and discipline. This is why it is good to have children involved in competitive sports. As they practice, work hard and fulfill their commitments, they gain skill, and skill leads to victory and celebration on the playing field, and in life.

Freedom therefore is the RESULT of a great life, not the raw material.

If we start by living a free and undisciplined life, true freedom slips away. It gets lost in a thousand petty or careless “little” decisions that eventually deny us the life we want.
You know the old cliché, but it still rings true today. You cannot have freedom without responsibility. Simply put, you cannot live an undisciplined life and expect to be free to live the life you want. Do you know how freedom is destroyed? The answer is simple. By abusing it as well as taking it away.

Begin with a handful of daily commitments that suit your unique situation.

Pray. Work. Exercise. Eat healthy. Read. Stay faithful – in your work and in your family.

Be productive. Do it now! Build the habit of personal discipline. It’s the road to personal freedom. And when we have learned discipline as a people…then maybe…those pink fences would go away.


This Post Has 14 Comments

  1. bong galicia

    Another great motivational piece sir Francis. I guess im ready for my part on our flag ceremony tomorrow. Thanks for adding value to me and to the people i serve here in Orani, Bataan. Thanks for the wisdom sir….. May the good Lord always bless you and your love ones….

  2. Pam

    HA HA HA!
    Being in a design field those pink overpass is reall an eyesore but i understand it and have to resort to it just so people will see it exist. The U-Turn slots occupies a bigger space because of the dividing elements. It’s like people are being discipline like kids. One Japanese friend says you get to know how good or how made a country is on the way how people follow traffic rules. It’s true. Here MMDA make rules and another official like a makati mayor don’t follow i mean how do you expect other people respect that rule.

    Your story always amazes me, thank you. It’s very addicting reading you notes sir.

  3. Zara

    I really like the article! It’s like telling me to continue what I opt for which is stated in the last lines…

    “Pray. Work. Exercise. Eat healthy. Read. Stay faithful – in your work and in your family.

    Be productive. Do it now! Build the habit of personal discipline. It’s the road to personal freedom. And when we have learned discipline as a people…then maybe…those pink fences would go away.”

    The rainy monday is geat after all. Thank you for these motivating, inspirational stories. =)

  4. Ramesh

    Excellent article indeed, its a good analogy and a disciplined approach for everything we take leads to success, if not , then situations like parrot calling spike to teach them would be the corrective.


  5. Kenneth Morgan

    A great article! It reminds me of something Chinkee Tan wrote:

    If you work now, you play later… If you play now, you pay later (And I don’t want to be paying later).

  6. Jeffrey Mendoza

    I love this article. It reminds me of how I should deal with my life in a day to day basis.

    Thanks Mr. Francis. I pray that you continually to inspire and remind us on how to live a quality life and the same time pleasing God in our best way we can.

    Looking forward to your fruitful, helpful and life-changing articles. God bless you and your family always.

  7. Niña Marie Avendaño

    I’m kinda relieved…a timely message for me, am a rank-and-file employee who doesn’t follow instructions easily cause i used to do it on my own, in that way i used challenged myself as well as my leader.

    Thanks for this inspiring article

  8. Red Denal

    Thanks you Sir Francis for always sharing inspiring article here. More power and happiness to you and your family.

    God bless you even more. 🙂

  9. Jojo Echeverre

    This is One of your great article Mr Francis. Thank you. But Its really sad to say that we have a lot of Laws that would test Filipino discipline. One of the best venue I should site is the ATM Machine. Even there’s a waste basket beside the Machine still those who transact forgot to give their share. We can always saw a piece of paper around it. It’s almost fifteen years ago when I learn and practice myself to keep a candy wrapper on my pocket. When I got home, I throw to the waste can. I guess rules are very simple. All people need to do is use their mind and their heart. I should say, LOVE YOUR COUNTRY. LOVE YOUR ENVIRONMENT. AND LOVE GOD’S BLESSINGS. IT IS THE EARTH.

  10. erma

    true motivational indeed.. thank you for all those talk.. it was inspiring.. its transforming…no words to explain

  11. Florece Ann Quiles

    HAHAHA.. cute parrot!

    True enough. Reading, understanding and following instructions are very important.

    I have taken an exam once where the first instruction was to read first all the instructions before answering the test paper. I did not read all the instructions, after reading each instruction I do it right then. Until I reached the final instruction which said, “do not do everything what was instructed above”.

    I did not got the bonus point which can increase my exam score.

  12. Rex Sacayan

    Parrot replied, “Get him, Spike!” –> made me laugh! hahahaha!

    By the way what happened to the repairman?

  13. Sam

    The story was so awesome that I easily understood the message of it. The moral lessons you have given are so motivating that it inspires me a lot to do the right things as early as now. That we must really be productive in every situation of our lives. Thank you so much for the wonderful thoughts you have shared with everyone. May God bless you in all your endeavors, Sr. Francis! 🙂

  14. Chris D

    Indeed, FREEDOM is a result of a great life not a raw material.

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