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BFTP: Pig tales: two fables

Two fables. Enjoy.

The pig with the wooden leg

A manure spreader salesmen was driving past a farmyard here in southern Minnesota when he spotted a pig with a wooden leg. His curiosity aroused, he pulled in the driveway and over to where Ole was repairing the corn crib.

"Say, Ole," says the salesman, "that's an interesting pig you got there. How'd he get the wooden leg?"pig.jpg

"Oh, yah," says Ole, "that's some pig. Once when the old barn caught fire, that pig rushed into the flames and let all the animals out of their pens so they could run to safety.

"Anudder time when the river flooded, our whole family was on the roof of the house and about to be swept away when that pig swam to the neighbor's house and swam back towing a fishing boat to rescue us.

" And just last summer when a tornado was coming right at the farm, that pig rounded up all the kids and got them into the storm cellar. The house was a goner, but the kids were OK."

The salesman was amazed. "Wow, that is quite the pig, Ole," says he. "So then, during which adventure was it he lost the leg?"

"Oh, he didn't lose the leg," replied Ole. "It's just that you don't eat a pig that good all at one time."

I've been soliciting volunteers to help with different tasks in our state's school library and technology organization. Little things like serving on committees for the upcoming state conference, writing short articles for the newsletter, and taking part in legislative activities.

What percentage of our 600 member "volunteer" organization steps forward? I'd say we have fewer than 50 people who ever take more than a completely passive role. 8%. And of that 50, maybe 20 who are dedicated. 3%.

Why is this? Why can some people with the same 24 hours in a day, same commitments to family and work, same need for leisure still work on volunteer basis while others simply refuse to participate. I am not condemning anyone since I am absolutely certain everyone has a great reason for doing what they do. And god bless every volunteer effort no matter how seemingly small.

Is it something we current active members are doing? Are we too set in our ways? Too clubby? Too poor at communicating the organization's needs?

Here's my fear. I am afraid like the pig with the wooden leg that we may be eating our best people alive. That at some point they will simply say "I've done my bit, served my debt to society the organization, and I am retiring as a volunteer." And the organization loses a wealth of information and experience and talent.

What is your perspective on this? Does the same active vs. inactive ratio apply in the volunteer organizations to which you belong? And what can we do about it?

Original post February 10, 2009

The Pig And The Horse

There was a farmer who collected horses; he only needed one more breed to complete his collection.

One day, he found out that his neighbor had the particular horse breed he needed so he constantly bothered his neighbor until he sold it to him. 

A month later, the horse became ill and he called the veterinarian, who said, "Well, your horse has a virus. He must take this medicine for three days. I'll come back on the 3rd day and if he's not better, we'll have to put him down."

Nearby, the pig listened closely to their conversation. The next day, they gave him the medicine and left. 

The pig approached the horse and said, "Be strong, my friend. Get up or else they're going to put you to sleep!"

On the second day, they gave him the medicine and left. The pig came back and said, "Come on buddy, get up or else you're going to die! I'll help you get up. Let's go! One, two, three..."

On the third day, they came to give him the medicine and the vet said, "Unfortunately, we're going to have to put him down tomorrow. Otherwise, the virus might spread and infect the other horses."

After they left, the pig approached the horse and said, "Listen pal, it's now or never! Get up, come on! Have courage!  Come on! Get up! Get up! That's it, slowly! Great! Come on, one, two, three... Good, good. Now faster, come on.... Fantastic! Run, run more! Yes! Yay! Yes! You did it, you're a champion!"

The owner came back, saw the horse running in the field and began shouting, "It's a miracle! My horse is cured. This deserves a party. Let's kill the pig! 

I've thought about this fable this fall as I see our department work so diligently to get our classrooms ready. Too often our hard-working "pigs" do most of the work and get too little of the credit. Nobody truly knows which employee actually deserves the merit of success, or who's actually contributing the necessary support to make things happen. (See Technicians - the unsung heroes) Personally, I believe it is the true leader's responsibility to make sure recognition is given where recognition is due.

Original post July 16, 2011



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