inSchool Solutions

 School Improvement:  Stories
Working Together Easier First Implementation Action Plan Imperatives About RPS


Site Index

Other topics

Getting Ready
And then



More on this topic

There are a few important stories to add to your collection of metaphorical guidelines

The Fisher King
was a local king in Arthurian times. He had been wounded in battle. His injuries incapacitated him but were not severe enough to kill him. He was unable to get on with his life. He could not go forward nor could he go back to previous times and he was presently incapacitated (sound familiar?)

In an attempt to achieve his own healing the Fisher King sort the advice of a seer. He was told that it would be necessary for him to achieve two things. Firstly he must find the Holy Grail.  Secondly ask the question: "Whom does the Grail serve?"

We are often like the Fisher King. Wounded in our battles with a rapidly changing world we can't go forward nor backwards. 

Implications: We need to achieve these same two things in relation to our situation in order to be able to make progress. The 'Holy Grail and whom it serves' are to do with purposes and outcomes much more than processes, tasks and resources. Younger readers might recognise this as 'cutting through the crap'.

The Waters of Life

A tribe sent seekers out into the desert searching for the Water of Life.  The Water showed itself in the world by bubbling forth from an artesian well. After a long journey the seekers came upon the well and drank from its invigorating waters. They felt life surge through them and were truly satisfied.
They sent for the tribe, which soon arrived. There were many people gathered around the spring, so a wall was built to protect the purity of its crystal water. As the people arrived shops and buildings sprang up. Roads were built. Eventually to organise access and pay for the necessary administrative costs a charge was made for drinking from the vitalising waters. Still the people came.
And then one day the people woke up and the Water of Life had gone. Water still flowed, but it was not the Water of Life. People drank, but in time realised their loss. 
The people sent seekers out and the cycle began again.

Implications: Capturing purposes and insights into programs, policies and regulations can cause these valuable (life giving) 'gifts' to be lost...even when the programs, policies and regulations continue to be enacted.

The Emperor's New Clothes
.... is a well known story. Perhaps in a modern form  of the story the 'villains' might be executives working for some corporate enterprise supplying desirable and essential goods and services to the royal person. 

Perhaps, as is so often the case, the poor executives were required by policy to delivery what is beyond their capacity and the capacity of the corporate system of which they are a part. Policy without capacity is inclined to delude all who fall within its grasp.  

Implications: The antidote to this common predicament is to focus, childlike, on the current, local reality.

Good Luck, Bad Luck  
A farmer had a son and a horse. One day the son failed to tether the horse properly and the horse ran away. His neighbours said, 'What bad luck !'
The farmer replied, 'How do you know?'
The next day the horse returned with three other healthy young wild horses. His neighbours said, 'What good luck !'.
'How do you know?', replied the farmer. The following day the farmer's son broke his leg when he fell from one of the new horses. The neighbours said, 'What bad luck !' and again  the farmer replied, 'How do you know?'
While the son was incapacitated the Emperor's army passed through the village gathering fit young men for a war that was just beginning far away on the other side of the Empire. All the young men from the village were conscripted except, of course, the farmers son.

The war was very costly to the Empire and many of the young men from the village were killed or injured.

And so it was that the farmer, with the help of his son and their horses, was able to farm more successfully than his neighbours. Eventually he acquired a great deal of land and became very rich. Both the farmer and his son lived long and very comfortable lives.

Implications:  Cause and effect can be remote from each other in both time and place.