Once there was a young boy who lived on a farm with his older brother. The young boy was responsible for tending to the precious crops in one section of the farm. He called the crops the ‘Left-40’. In his spare time, the little boy collected bugs and insects that prey and threatened the safety of his crops. The young boy also loved to play with an old raggedy bucket. He created his own game on how to fill and empty the bucket with water without it spilling over, all while a constant stream of water poured into the bucket from the ‘Endless Well’. Using spoons and ladles, he would find intricate and different ways to keep the bucket at specific levels without ever allowing it to reach or spill over the top.
The older brother thought very highly of himself. He always wore a ‘trusty’ tool belt and chewed gum. Big brother believed the farm could not prosper without him. He spent his days searching for things needing to fix on the farm. Sometimes he ended up fixing things that didn't need it, all while wearing his tool belt and chewing his gum. Although he was smart, the older brother thought he was much smarter than he actually was. He felt that he was definitely smarter than the little boy.
One day, the older brother found the collection of bugs and insects the little boy had collected. Concerned more for the mistreatment of the bugs than the crops in the ‘Left-40’, the older brother wanted the boy to set the some of the harmful bugs free. Some insects looked the same and the older brother did not understand that although some bugs may look the same, you could not tell the risk and danger differences by just a glance.
The older brother went to speak with the young boy about the collected bugs. He noticed the little boy playing, using the old raggedy bucket. The older brother watched the boy for a while. He became interested with how the young boy played in such detail with that raggedy bucket. The older brother just knew he could play the game better and was eager to give it a try.
One night, while the little boy was fast asleep, the older brother decided to play with that old raggedy bucket. He set it up as he watched the young boy do by the ‘Endless Well’. The older brother started the constant water flow from the ‘Endless Well’ at the same rate as the young boy. The older brother did not know where the boy kept the ladles and spoons used for the game. This did not deter the older brother. The older brother pondered and thought obsessively about what to do as he watched the water level reach the top of the bucket and spill over the rim.
The older brother was still wearing his ‘trusty’ tool belt and he pulled out a large screwdriver. As the brother paced back and forth, all the while chewing gum and tapping the tip of the screwdriver into the palm of his support hand, he thought; “There has to be a way to do this without those darn ladles and spoons.” Suddenly he stopped and began to smile. He came up with a solution.
Wanting his version of the bucket game to be more challenging than the little boys’, the older brother marked the level where he wanted to sustain the water level. It was a lot different than the boys’ water mark and was already submerged beneath the current water level since the bucket was already filled of water. Without hesitation, and screwdriver in hand, the older brother punched a hole in the bottom of the bucket. Excited of his idea, he did it again. He stepped back and noticed that the water had leveled off and the flow out of the screwdriver holes matched the flow into the bucket. The water remained above where he wanted the water level to be. This angered the older brother. “That boy can’t be better than me in such a simple game”, he said to himself. Frustrated, the older brother punched more holes into the bottom of the bucket. The water flowed faster out of the bucket and in no time the water reached the level the older brother wanted. But now he had a different problem… too much water was leaving the bucket and he couldn't control it.
The older brothers’ frustration got the better of him. He did not keep track on how many holes he made in the bucket. Angry and in deep thought the older brother paced, searching his mind for a fast solution. Then as if a light went off in his head, he got it!!!
The older brother took out his chewed wad of gum and plugged up one of the holes. He watched for a little bit and saw that it held in place and almost stopped the leak from that hole. Excited that his idea seemed to work, the older brother hurriedly opened the pack and chewed the rest of the gum pieces all at once. He began plugging up other holes with the gum. When the gum ran out, he stopped momentarily to see how his creative ‘fix’ was holding. Although the gum held in place, it wasn't enough to get the results the older brother wanted.
Now the older brother was even more upset. The older brother began to pace again as he became more frustrated with his self made dilemma. He began to search round his belt to find another tool that could help him as the screwdriver helped him before… YES!!! Excitedly, the older brother had another idea.
With a smug look on his face, the older brother walked up to the bucket. He stared at the bucket as though he had just defeated a great foe on the field of battle. With a new found confidence, the older brother reached to his ‘trusty’ tool belt and pulled out a roll of duct tape. Having what seemed to be a never ending supply of duct tape, the older brother began cutting strips and covering the existing holes. This seemed to work and the older brother gave himself a mental pat on the back over his accomplishment. But this victory was short lived.
With wet surface of the bucket and the constant gravitational flow of the water, the duct tape would not stay in place. As one piece fell off the older brother quickly replaced a new piece of tape over the newly exposed hole. Unfortunately, another piece fell off of a different hole as one hole was re-taped. Overcome with anger and frustration, the older brother spent the rest of the night repeating the same process, attempting to replace every piece of tape as they fell off.
The little boy awoke from his slumber unaware of what transpired while he was in a deep sleep. After completing his morning routine, the little boy looked for his older brother. The little boy felt abandoned as he searched for the older brother to no avail. Noticing the time, the young boy knew he needed to tend to his responsibilities. The little boy took a lot of pride in the amount of effort and work he did in overseeing the ‘Left 40’ section of the farm.
The little boy found his older brother by the edge of the ‘Left-40’ crops at the ‘Endless Well’. The older brother was still attempting to plug the holes in the bucket. The little boy stood and watched in curious silence trying to figure out what happened to the already raggedy bucket and what the older brother trying to do. The little boy smiled as he realized that the older brother was trying to play his own version of the little boys bucket game.
The older brother finally gave the boy a wincing look, noticing the smile on the little boys face. Surprisingly, the little boy was not upset. Puzzled by this, the older brother asked; “What’s so amusing?”
The little boy began to explain: “Big brother, I can never be mad at you. From a distance, you obviously watched me play with the raggedy bucket. You do so much to take care of so many things on the farm. I only try to learn from you. I take pride in what work I do in the ‘Left-40’. The older brother continued to patch the raggedy bucket, barely listening to the little boy.
The little boy continued: “The game I play with that raggedy bucket teaches me how to set and juggle certain objectives all at one time. As you take care of so many diverse problems around the farm, I concentrate my efforts on protecting the ‘Left-40’ crops and learning while playing with that old raggedy bucket. As I learn, I adjust the game played with the bucket. I have used many different tools, and those also change as I excel in play with the bucket. As I make mistakes, I learn how to do things different and better. But please understand that I never forget that the main importance is to keep the crops safe. The raggedy bucket helps me keep the crops safe”. Commenting half jokingly, half seriously, the boy continued, “You know brother, Instead of you waiting for me to be sound asleep, I could have explained my bucket game to you. It would've been easier to grasp with the proper tools and understanding certain rules of playing with the bucket”.
“I destroyed your bucket”, the older brother said arrogantly. “I put a bunch of holes in it. You’ll never be able to play with it again. Aren't you mad at me for what I've done”? The little boy looked at the condition of the bucket. He noticed all the chewing gum and duct tape stuck to the bottom. He also saw the rusted areas, bent and tattered handle. He saw all of the dents and dings and realized how old the bucket was before he even started playing and learning with it.
“You know”, the little boy replied, that bucket has probably been around for centuries. It may be time to get another bucket that can be used properly, as well as better learning purposes. Until then, I guess I’ll have to continue to use this old bucket. The game has to change again to fit what condition the bucket is in, just like it has in the past. But I bet there’s still something I can learn from it… maybe you can learn something too”.
The older brother looked at the boys’ credulous face, taking the comment as an attempt to be crass. To change the subject and show dominance over the young boy, the older brother barked at the little boy: “Well, you need to get rid of some of those bugs! There’s no need to keep so many of them. You can’t tell me you haven’t learned enough with the bugs you already have. Why collect so many when a lot look the same? I don’t get it! You’re just wasting your time”!
“But that’s where your wrong, Big Brother”, answered the little boy. “Those bugs are more dangerous than at first glance. I have learned that even some of the smallest, weakest insects have the same ability of danger as the larger common bugs. They even prey on each other, including within their own individual groups or species. You can never predict which can be the more dangerous because they all have the possibility to show a predatory behavior.” The little boy continued, “ I've attempted to free some of the bugs, many of which showed to be more docile than others. I ended up catching some of them again, ravaging our precious crops. Most of their dangerous, predatory behavior relies on an instinct of opportunity. That instinct cannot be controlled or trusted. That’s why I collect those terrible insects that do so much damage to our crops. I have to protect those crops”.
The older brother felt challenged by the little boy. There was nothing that this young child could possibly teach the older brother. The older brother demanded that some of the bugs were set free. The little boy glanced down at his shoes for a moment as if defeated and said, “More of the precious crops in the ‘Left-40’ will be in danger, but I will respect your wishes.” He also told the little boy that the old raggedy bucket would not be replaced. The little boy will just have to make due. After scolding the little boy with his demands, the big brother turned his back and walked away, leaving the little boy to figure out what to do next.
The little boy went over and picked up the old bucket. Inspecting the damage created by the older brother, the little boy wasted no time in seeing how the bucket could be salvaged and manipulated for use. Before turning to tend to the ‘Left-40’, the little boy glanced up again; watching the older brother walk away - never once looking back at the little boy.
An unexpected lesson was learned this day. The little boy learned that even with solid reasoning and proven practices, he must always be prepared for any change that his big brother may force on him at any given time, even when he is asleep.
Moral of the story: Hurried solutions end up creating more damage that cannot be fixed with chewing gum and duct tape; including on an old raggedy bucket.
I’m Just Sayin…