Time to make some soup
There’s an old folk tale called “Stone Soup,” and you might be familiar with it.
It goes something like this: A hungry stranger comes to a village, asking to be fed, but the villagers tell him they have nothing and turn him away.
However, he amazes them when he says he’s going to make stone soup, and they can all have a taste once he’s done. The first thing he puts into the pot is what he calls a magic stone, but he needs a few other items from.
Villagers come around, each bringing a little something to the pot. Some bring vegetables, others a bit of meat, everything for a good stew.
And then, the villages sit down with him for a good meal, the stranger’s “stone soup” and exclaim how delicious it is and what magic he’s wrought.
There are variations of this folk tale throughout the world, but they all have a similar theme: the stranger gets from them what the villagers had all along.
However, they were too stingy to realize the goodness they could concoct if they would only work together.
We readers—especially if we heard this story when we were children—probably smiled the first time we read the tale.
You can’t fool children easily. I remember sitting in the story circle way back when the teacher read the story to the class. We all marveled that although the villagers said they didn’t have “anything,” they had enough when they put what they had together.
Isn’t it silly, to say you have nothing to offer, or worse, cling to what you have and not share it?
Stingy, hoarding, suspicious, none of these attitudes help for cooperation, working together, or any of the positive skills we try to teach our children.
Stingy: “I’m not sharing with anyone, because I’ll lose what I have and no one will take care of me.”
Hoarding: “If I don’t keep something for myself, I’ll lose everything.”
Suspicious: “If I give to someone, no one will appreciate it and someone, somewhere will definitely take advantage of me. Like the person asking for something.”
If we only look out for number one, we don’t foster that spirit of community, of working together.
“I’ll help you only if it serves my personal interests” doesn’t help either.
No wonder sometimes we can come across as uncooperative, stingy, selfish. No matter how much we claim to welcome others to our table yet our actions don’t reflect our claims.
What does that look like to outsiders, who might be interested in investing in our community, both literally and figuratively?
Just tossing those ideas into the pot. What a great force we could be, what community, if we would only choose to work together and leave our own personal agendas at home. Let’s hope we can make some soup. choose to work together and leave our own personal agendas at home.