By Meera Venkatesan
Learning Consultant, Performance Storyteller, Trainer, Creative writer, Bangalore
Foreword by Venkat
Inequality is at times seen in unfavorable terms because it seemingly divides people into groups of twos – of rich and poor, labor and management, educated and uneducated, cultured and uncultured and so on. Unfortunately, many times, inequalities bring inequity (injustice) which cuts the inequalities deeper and vice versa. On the flip side, it is the inequalities that drive business, innovation, education, skill development, material growth, material distribution, better fitness, better protection, and so on. The imbalances between resources and needs, work and skill, people and material, need and ability, opportunity and idea or any other combination among these give meaning, value, purpose and growth in life and society.
Meera, presents a beautiful story that brings out the nature of skill development and its transformative power over one’s measure of others. The more I think on this story, the more ideas I seem to find. This is a treasury of ideas indeed to put in a few words! When we do not realize the value of the human values and employable skills in others, material things seem of greater value but with the realization, losing people is a greater threat to cope with. A truly wonderful contribution from Meera as the first post in the education section!
Enjoy this lovely story of the three sons, a folk tale, embellished and shaped in Meera’s simple words for some great ideas to transpire. There is something in this for everyone of any age or occupation!
Meera is into Learning and Development for both K12 and corporates, specializing in designing and delivering story based, scenario based and experiential training. At present she is a Learning Consultant at Anahata United efforts, an NGO brightening lives with career education.
She also conducts and curates storytelling sessions for children as well as adults.
There are many stories where the underdog, the weakling is the one who succeeds. This has always made me wonder, “Well what about the strong one? What about the one who has put in all the efforts?” That is why I found myself enjoying this folk tale that I am presenting to you today. As a storyteller I have added my own thoughts and direction to it, of course.
A rich man had one huge house and three sons. The three sons did not often see eye to eye and often fought with each other. Their father was quite sure that they would not be able to stay together in 1 house. And so, the question came to his mind, “Who among my three sons deserves this house?” He decided to put forth a condition. “Whoever learns a skill and learns it in the best possible way, they will inherit this house,” he said. Of course, the three sons wanted the house! They had no other income or earning!
The three sons set out into the world leaving behind the safe cocoon of their home. They realized that life was hard, and learning was not child’s play! They had seen many people working around them, but they had never bothered to find out what effort went into their work! They realized how ignorant they had been. All their hard work also made them very competitive. Each of them wanted to get their father’s house at any cost.
And so, at the end of the decided time, they returned home to a rousing welcome from their father. They eyed each other with derision. Each of them was sure that they had mastered a skill. They were the best in their field, and they were sure none could beat them. After meeting and greeting and eating, without further ado, they decided it was time for the test! All the villagers gathered around to see the result.
The first son had learnt to become a blacksmith, the best there was. The people sniggered. “What is so remarkable about a blacksmith? He could have chosen a different profession to prove his worth!” they thought. Unfazed, he looked around and saw a horse galloping fast in front of their house. He picked up his tools, rushed to the horse and changed the horse’s shoe even as the horse galloped. Everyone was filled with wonder. There was thunderous applause. Surely this was an unparalleled feat!
The second son had learnt to become a fencing master, the best there was. As he started flourishing his sword, drip drop, the rain drop started falling onto the ground. Everyone ran for cover, but not the fencing master. He wiped his sword clean and swung it and rotated it around him at such speed that not a drop of the torrential rain fell on the sword. There were speechless gasps from the audience. Surely no one could better this, least of all the third son who was just a barber.
The third son did not seem to have any such qualms. He confidently stepped forward and caught sight of a swiftly running bunny. Picking up his instruments, he leaped with agility, and neatly shaved the bunny of his hair in no time.
Now no one had ever seen such a thing. As the people gathered congratulated them and asked them to share the secret of their success, the father was in deep thought. While all of them had been no-gooders before, all had worked hard to become the best in their field. What could he do now?
The three sons saw their worried father and approached him. “Father, when we started on this journey, all we had was the house. Now with our learning we have the capacity to build 100 such houses,” said the first.
“We worked on our craft to be the best at it. Now we can appreciate the effort for learning any craft,” said the second.
“We would love to stay in this house together, the house that was the starting point of our life,” said the third.
And so, it came to be that the three sons lived together, practicing their craft and marveling at each other’s skills. One thing they never stopped doing, even long after their father’s death was- Learning.
May 1st is observed as the day to celebrate labor, and the dignity of labor. Every job requires a skill, which may be different from yours, but wondrous, none the less. Shall we try to learn what goes into 1 new skill today?
By Meera Venkatesan