Living life in the chicken run!

English: black shumen rooster

Image via Wikipedia

Slightly tongue in cheek perhaps and despite the fact it’s an old analogy, the story below fits well with my previous post about the hamster wheel. Have you ever noticed how, the older one gets, the more times you witness (and endure) youthful exuberance imposing their reinvented wheel on the rest of us?

Most of those who are so excited about their ‘new’ idea, forget to reasearch and understand the past. Far to freely, they are happy to dismiss the knowledge and condemn the experiences of the wise old owls, often failing to take cognisance of historical fact. It may only be a generalistic trait but it’s one that is very common in our society today. We should all understand; we ignore and poo poo this experience at our peril, in so many walks of life.

Many people far wiser than I have been making this point for centuries. Indeed, the much quoted Chinese philosopher and reformer Confucius (551 BC – 479 BC) was probably one of the first when he said; Study the past if you would define the future. Throughout history there have been people wise enough to take cognisance of the past, but unfortunately, also just as many who haven’t.

That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons that History has to teach…(Aldous Huxley – English Novelist & Critic, 1894-1963)

One story that you may or may not have heard before, is an amusing example of the problem of youthful arrogance within our society. It’s one of those social problems which is having negative impacts upon the business world, our family lives and ultimately our society as a whole so read on…

A farmer went out one day and bought a brand new stud rooster for his chicken coop. 

The new rooster struts over to the old rooster and says, ‘OK old fart, time for you to retire.’  The old rooster replies, ‘Come on, surely you cannot handle ALL of these chickens. Look what it has done to me. Can’t you just let me have the two old hens over in the corner?’

The young rooster says, ‘Beat it: You are washed up and I am taking over.’ The old rooster thinks for a moment then says, ‘I tell you what, young stud… I will race you around the farmhouse. Whoever wins gets the exclusive domain over the entire chicken coop.’

The young rooster laughs.’You know you don’t stand a chance, old man but  just to be fair, I will give you a head start.’

The old rooster takes off running.  About 15 seconds later the young rooster takes off running after him. They round the front porch of the farmhouse and the young rooster has closed the gap. He is only about 5 feet behind the old rooster and gaining fast! The farmer, meanwhile, is sitting in his usual spot on the front porch When he sees the roosters running by.

The Old Rooster is squawking and running as hard as he can… The Farmer grabs his shotgun and – BLAM – he blows the young rooster to bits. The farmer sadly shakes his head and says, ‘Dammit……That’s the third gay rooster I bought this month.’

Moral of this story? – Don’t mess with the OLD FARTS – Age, skill, wisdom, experience and even a little treachery when required, will always overcome youth and arrogance!

The above story may have been a little juvenile in its humour but it does serve to illustrate a point. I will admit to the exuberance of youth in my younger days however; whilst questioning the methodology and raison d’être of those much older and wiser than I, there was always a background of respect of and for the experience of age. An understanding that time-served in whatever scenario, actually counted for something.

It tought me that I could learn a lot from my elders, if I was prepared to listen to them, which thankfully I was. Whether I agreed with them or not was often immaterial, just so long as I didn’t fall foul of the same mistakes they had made in their past.

Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe…(H. G. Wells, The Outline of History, vol.2 – English author & historian, 1866 – 1946)

Perhaps we would make far fewer mistakes now, if we took greater cognisance of our past? The sooner we understand that ignoring our history, and those more experienced than us, the sooner we can actually get our heads around the fact; ignorance of the past has profoundly negative impacts upon our future!

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About Dave Hasney

National Coordinator for UK SMART Recovery - Previously a Recovery Worker and prior to that a Management Consultant and H&S Practitioner - Kept sane by Angling, Good Food, Real Ale & Wine - Cynical thoughts sometimes developed from others.

Posted on 26-01-2012, in Bankside Bubbles, Leadership & Management, Society Babble and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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