Friday Fable: Aesop’s “THE LARK AND THE FARMER”*

Posted by jlubans on May 09, 2014

Caption: "The Lark and Her Young Ones" card advertising Sauer's Flavoring Extracts ca. 1908.

“A Lark nested in a field of corn, and was rearing her brood under cover of the ripening grain. One day, before the young were fully fledged, the Farmer came to look at the crop, and, finding it yellowing fast, he said, ‘I must send round word to my neighbours to come and help me reap this field.’ One of the young Larks overheard him, and was very much frightened, and asked her mother whether they hadn't better move house at once. ‘There's no hurry,’ replied she; ‘a man who looks to his friends for help will take his time about a thing.’ In a few days the Farmer came by again, and saw that the grain was overripe and falling out of the ears upon the ground. ‘I must put it off no longer,’ he said; ‘This very day I'll hire the men and set them to work at once.’ The Lark heard him and said to her young, ‘Come, my children, we must be off: he talks no more of his friends now, but is going to take things in hand himself.’"
“Self-help is the best help.”

At work, I could always count on a few people who helped promptly and some others who sort of helped. Most staff, regardless if there was a crisis demanding “all hands on deck”, were always too busy to pitch in. It was not until we paid for the extra hours that we saw interest in helping. Perhaps I should have demonstrated more urgency as to why the work needed to be done. When the mother lark spoke, the chicks knew it was time to go – the urgency was real. Some leaders cry wolf, exaggerate , or even lie. You might get away with it once like Aesop’s boy, but, if you depend on cooperation and collaboration to confront a crisis, you’ll be the loser.

*Source: AESOP'S FABLES A NEW TRANSLATION BY V. S. VERNON JONES WITH AN INTRODUCTION By G. K. CHESTERTON AND ILLUSTRATIONS BY ARTHUR RACKHAM (Publisher: London: W. Heinemann; New York: Doubleday, Page & Co., 1912). Available at Gutenberg.

Half off SALE: Order your library a copy of Leading from the Middle right here!

@Copyright John Lubans 2014

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