My paternal grandmother’s favorite story was “The Little Red Hen.” I am not sure if it was because she liked the message or that she liked chickens. (Chickens on a farm were important then.)
For those of you who have not heard the story of the little red hen, or have forgotten it, the basic story line follows. The little red hen found some wheat grains. She wanted to grow and harvest the wheat so she could make bread. At each step in the process (planting, weeding, and harvesting the wheat, grinding it into flour, and making bread) she asked each of the other farm animals if they would help. Each one, at each step, said, “No.” When each one said they would not help, she replied with, “Then I’ll do it myself.” Finally, after months of work, the little red hen had her bread and was sitting down to enjoy the results of her efforts. Each of the farm animals came up and wanted some of her bread. She told each one, “No, I’ll eat it myself.”
There are many people in the world who are like the little red hen. They know what they want and they work hard to make it happen. If they do not get support from others, they do it anyway.
Unfortunately, there are also many people who are like the other farm animals. They want the results, but they do not want to work for them.
This can occur in very obvious ways. For example, there are people who want money, but do not want a job. They want someone else to give them money without giving anything in return.
This can also occur in less obvious ways. For example, there are people who have a job and want to make more money. But they do not want to gain the additional knowledge, skills, or experience necessary to be promoted. They want to receive more without giving more.
Another example is group projects. I hated group projects in college. Usually everyone in the group wanted an “A.” Usually it was me and maybe one other person that was willing to work hard enough to actually earn an “A.” The same thing happens in work situations.
Think about your professional and personal relationships. In each relationship are you a “little red hen” or are you one of the “farm animals?” Which do you want to be?