Wednesday, December 02, 2015

Putting Out Fires...

In Switzerland, tucked up to the base of the Alps, lost in time, is an ancient Medieval village - picturesque, perched atop the steep incline of the mountains, suspended above the rush of a glacier-fed river, which widens out rapidly into the rich valley below.  

A beautiful place, sustained over centuries by farming the fertile floodplain below for food and commerce.  Plowed, sowed and harvested on a cooperative basis - "it takes a village" - to reap abundant rewards.
In the Fall the villagers empty out into the fields to bring in the harvest.  The crop is gathered as the days shorten, the weather cools, and the river rushes forward.   Time is short; winter approaches; every hand is needed; the days are long; the work is difficult...

One Autumn afternoon a cry arose from the fields
when a village child was spotted floating out in the middle of the rapidly flowing river.  One of the villagers waded into the river and swam out to the child and brought him to the shore.  There was great relief and rejoicing at the rescue from a very close call.

The celebration was short-lived when another child was spotted floating down the river toward the villagers gathered in the fields.  Another quick rescue was executed; but before the second child had been brought to safety, yet another child was seen upstream, followed by another, then yet another, and another.  

Panicked the villagers organized themselves into a human chain extending out into the middle of the river to grasp each of the children as the river rushed pass. But, one child was followed by another and another - relentlessly.

Eventually, one of the most highly respected and trusted leaders of the village abandoned the chain and walked away, headed toward the village.  Infuriated by his recklessness at the height of the emergency; the others screamed out in anger: "How can you walk away from our children at this critical moment?"  The critics were loud, angry and ferocious.

The leader walked on, looked back and said:  "Don't you think it's time for one of us to walk upstream and find out who's throwing our children into the river?!"

Moral of the Story:  If you are spending all your time "putting out fires",  perhaps you should take a little walk....

Burns me up!
Professional firefighters are exceptional leaders; 
exceptional leaders should not be professional firefighters.

(Got it?)

No comments: