Aesop and the Stone*

Posted by jlubans on March 23, 2018

Caption: Not the Rope PUSH

A mean fellow,
seeing sop in the street, threw a stone at him.
'Well done!' was his response to the unmannerly action.
'See! here is a penny for you; on my faith it is all I have, but I will tell you how you may get something more.
See, yonder comes a rich and influential man.
Throw a stone at him in the same way, and you will receive a due reward.' The rude fool, being persuaded, did as he was advised.
His daring impudence, however, brought him a requital he did not hope for, though it was what he deserved, for, being seized, he paid the penalty.

Like an old West gunslinger, Aesop was always prepared with a masterly shot to the head. However, this gift - straight from the Muses - did make for enemies.
Eventually his quick-draw tongue got him hurled off of a cliff to his death.
In my 9-5 realm, I knew only a few people able to parry undeserved character attacks.
Most of us deal with verbal assaults either by avoiding or hurling back a similar insult.
It is only later, in quieter moments, when we think about what we should have said or done.
At a team building session I led, I recall a most unusual event.
Id taken the group outside to do the Rope Push.
Instead of a tug-of-war in which one side seeks to pull the other over a line, the topsy-turvy point of the rope push is to give away the rope.
The group, while low energy, did give it a lack-luster try.
Then the unusual happened. One of the group, Harry, ran off with the rope and stood about ten yards away, taunting.
Had I been able to channel Aesop, I would have asked the group, "What is the rope? Then, given the history of this group (low morale, high mistrust) I would answer my own question, like Aesop did in the Man & the Bow fable,
Maybe not. Maybe the situation - with the bullying Harry out of the mix - would have precipitated a candid discussion of group dynamics.
How might you have handled what happened with the Rope Push? After all, one of the reasons for us to revisit these historic stories is to learn for ourselves.

*Source: Thomas Newbigging. Fables and Fabulists: Ancient and Modern. 1896

For more fables to guide ones leadership or followership and how to turn lemons into lemonade - get your copy of Fables for Leaders at Amazon. Or get your library to order a copy!

Fables for Leaders Library of the Week
: Bethany Lutheran College Memorial Library. Mankato, MN, USA.

Copyright John Lubans 2018

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