This is my favourite time of the year, and I know that most of you
likely feel the same way. However, at the risk of putting a damper on your
“Christmas Spirit”, it is also the time of year when I get the most
discouraged about the future of this great community.
On the one hand,
everywhere you turn you see wonderful examples of people and organizations
involved in a wide variety of special activities. Telethons; the
Salvation Army Kettle Drive
; food bank drives for Christmas hampers; and
special projects all designed to help the less fortunate in our community.
You also see other organizations holding fund-raising events to help
support their own particular activities through Church teas and bazaars;
raffles; penny tables; bake sales; chocolate bar sales – the list goes
you are looking at a group that is raising money for the needy or a
community group that is raising money and awareness for a special
initiative, you tend to see one common element. The majority of the work
is being done by a small group of individuals – usually the same group
that has been doing the work year after year. It begs the question,
“What is going to happen when the ‘workers’ get tired and quit?”
I found the answer in
the following story that I call “The Little Red Hen”. But I’m afraid
of the ending.
One day a little red
hen scratched about in the barnyard until she gathered some grains of
wheat. She called her neighbours and said, "If we plant this wheat,
we shall have bread to eat. Who will help me plant?
"Not I," said
the cow. "Not I," said the duck. "Not I," said the
pig. "Not I," said the goose.
will," said the little red hen. And she did. The wheat grew tall and
ripened into golden grain.
"Who will help me
reap my wheat?" asked the little red hen.
"Not I," said
the duck. "I have other plans." "I’d have to leave my
comfortable pen," said the pig. "I have to watch not to hurt my
back," said the cow. "I don’t want to ruffle my freshly
cleaned feathers," said the goose.
will," said the little red hen, and she did.
At last it was time to bake the bread. "Who will help me bake the
bread?" asked the little red hen.
"That would be
overtime for me," said the duck. "I’m waiting for a friend to
come over," said the pig. "I never learned how when I was in
school," said the cow. "I think I will wait for something better
to come along," said the goose.
will," said the little red hen and she proceeded to bake five loaves
They all wanted some,
and in fact, even demanded a share. But the little red hen said, "No.
I can eat the five loaves myself."
"You have more
than you need," said the duck. "You are being greedy," said
the pig. "How can you let us go hungry when you have so much,"
said the cow. "You don’t care about your neighbours," said the
And they painted
"unfair" picket signs and marched around and around the little
red hen, shouting obscenities. When the farmer showed up, he said to the
little red hen, "You mustn’t be greedy."
"But I earned the
bread," said the little red hen.
said the farmer. "That’s the wonderful free enterprise system.
Anyone in the barnyard can earn as much as he wants. But in our modern
system, the productive workers must divide their profits with the
And so the little red
hen took her share - one loaf of bread - and went back home.
The duck, the pig, the
cow and the goose all took one loaf of bread as their share and they too
went on their way home to enjoy the fresh feast.
And they lived happily
ever after, including the little red hen, who smiled and chuckled, "I
am so grateful to live in a country which will look after me. I am so
But her neighbours
wondered why she never baked any more bread.
And so, while I love this time of year for many obvious reasons, I
still have to wonder, “What is going to become of our great community
when the workers of these organizations get tired and decide that it is
time to quit?”
If you belong to a
group, and if you have similar concerns about the “workers” in your
organization, cut out this story and put it up on your bulletin board. We
need to help the “Little Red Hens” in our community, or some day we
will all be without bread.
Have a good week!