At their school carnival, our kids won four free goldfish (lucky us!), so out I went
Saturday morning to find an aquarium. The first few I priced ranged from $40 to $70. Then
I spotted it--right in the aisle: a discarded 10-gallon display tank, complete with gravel
and filter--for a mere five bucks. Sold! Of course, it was nasty dirty, but the savings
made the two hours of clean-up a breeze.
Those four new fish looked great in their new home, at least for the first day. But by
Sunday one had died. Too bad, but three remained. Monday morning revealed a second
casualty, and by Monday night a third goldfish had gone belly up. We called in an expert,
a member of our church who has a 30-gallon tank. It didn't take him long to discover the
problem: I had washed the tank with soap, an absolute no-no. My uninformed efforts had
destroyed the very lives I was trying to protect. Sometimes in our zeal to clean up our
own lives or the lives of others, we unfortunately use "killer
soaps"--condemnation, criticism, nagging, fits of temper. We think we're doing right,
but our harsh, self-righteous treatment is more than they can bear.
Richard L. Dunagin.