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Children’s Tales in a Modern World

I wrote a paper, with the same title a few years ago for an English class with Dr. Denise Fulbrook, whom I credit her with making me a palatable writer. As with my blogging, my columns have been sporadic so the only staple of blogging that has stuck hasn’t even been regular. This particular column I love the concept, but do not feel as if it were as well executed I thought it would be.

A few weeks ago one of the ladies I work with mentioned the story Stone Soup, and my mind got to churning. That story is a great metaphor for life in sooooo many ways. I wrote the column last week, which was a mistake as all of the good content got lost somewhere in Lexington over the course of a few weeks, power outages and random trips to bad places. Sure it got published and somebody will like it, but I wish that I would have got out my initial thoughts… maybe I need a laptop after all.

‘Stons Soup’ economic approach gives up little for the greater good

The many pangs of life’s problems are easily solvable, that is if we stick to what we learned when we were kids. From simple lessons like cleaning up after ourselves to treating others the way we want to be treated, we develop the necessary tools to carry us through life.

A particularly pertinent lesson comes from the children’s tale “Stone Soup.” In the story of “Stone Soup,” some travelers stumble into a village with a large cauldron. They ask for food, but no one in the village has any. The travelers drop a stone in the large pot and fill it with water explaining that the stone soup is good, but bland without extra ingredients. The townies oblige the travelers and one by one, they add a little bit of this and that until they end up with a soup that feeds the whole village.

Without people relinquishing the vegetables and meat that they were initially so reluctant to give up, the travelers had nothing, and the villagers had meager sustenance at best. However, after a little sharing, they were able to accomplish a great feat. Now, this lesson of sharing and working as a collective can be made applicable to various aspects of life. It is always easier to work together than to try to go at it alone, but for the sake of the argument, let’s apply it to the economy.

Some would cry such communalistic behavior as a most nefarious form of socialism, bent on stealing from those who are better equipped or less lazy than other people. But I fundamentally disagree with such a belief, and would argue that such behavior is exactly what we need right now. The malfeasance of a few has created a fraternity of those that have so much more than the general public, and if these people were so talented, then they would not have driven the system into the ground to the point where we have to worry about our each and every financial move.

In regards to bailing out the failing industries, we have to proceed with caution, being mindful of those looking to cook up their own “stone soup,” seeking $1 million office upgrades, private jets and those trendy golden parachutes. I understand the need to rejuvenate our industries through President Barack Obama’s proposed economic stimulus package, as our nation’s last stimulus plan entails injecting checks into the pockets of the people. (That idea ended up really, really badly, as we balled out on iPods, expensive handbags and clothes and other materialistic items.) But there must be caution considering the negligible direction some of these companies took themselves, there has to be some kind of morals and values within the companies to prevent the unrealistic and out of touch spending of top-level management.

Our economy has to be made more stable, specifically in distributing the wealth to the masses. For those who oppose such a belief, do a simple Google search on where the wealth lies. The most well-off people I know aren’t even in the same universe as these people, and this wealth only reaches the hands of a small percentage of the population. It is extremely difficult for me to wrap my mind around the fact that the people who have so terribly ruined our economy have that much more knowledge and skill than the average everyday man and woman.

We did not sink multi-billion dollar corporations, and we certainly are not receiving the astronomical salaries of those who have done us in. Give me $20 million to sink Lehman Brothers and I’ll do it a hell of a lot quicker and you wouldn’t need a bailout, because it would sink that bad. That is, if I continued to do the same thing over expecting different results, even though markets were reflecting that there was a downturn on the horizon and the downright ridiculous salaries these experts were making.

Maybe this time we will try something new and start rebuilding our economy so people don’t have to worry about where their tax dollars are going or how the executives at their jobs are spending money. All it would take is giving up a little, and gaining a little touch of reality that understands how unbalanced the system is. In the meantime, as a collective, we can work together and help feed our villages by giving up just a little bit of whatever it is we can give.


(I will eventually become a regular blogger again… hopefully)

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