In this version of the fable, there was a village in the depths of Botswana, Africa that had been led, mostly, by a very wise elder of the tribe. He had looked over these people for as long as anyone could remember. He came to realize, however, that the end of his time on this earth was drawing near so he gathered the people of the village and told them that he was going to go on a journey.
As he prepared his family, friends, and villagers for his departure they grew quite concerned. “But you can’t leave us!” “What will we do without you?” “But you’ve always been here to take care of us!”
The elder sat them down and said, “My friends, please go on a walk and look for a stick. Please find a stick that speaks to you. When you have found a stick that pleases your eyes, come back and join me here.”
His people walked the land….the very same land that he taught them to care for as it was indeed precious for their survival. In time, each member of the village returned.
I would like you to come, one at a time, and place you sticks in the center of our circle….one on top of the other. When you place your stick in the pile, please give me a word that describes what you think our village will need in my absence.
Leadership, Trust, Kindness, Bravery, Cooperation, Hard Work, Respect, Perseverance….. the people of the village continued placing their sticks in a bundle and giving a word to represent what their village would need. They continued until the last of them had had their turn.
He then said, “Friends, this is my stick. You will see that alone, my stick is very weak. It can, in fact, be broken quite simply.” With that he raised his stick and snapped it.
He continued, “Friends, these are your sticks. You will see that together your sticks are very strong. Your sticks, together, cannot be broken. Together, like your sticks, you are very strong. Much stronger than I am alone.”
Today, on the field, your children looked for sticks that pleased their eyes. They too placed their sticks in a bundle while sharing words and characteristics that are important to our classroom….our village, if you will.
We will hang our new beautiful bundle of sticks in our classroom. We will remember the words that we said as we placed our sticks and we will remind the children that we, together, make a new community that needs each member equally.