Sunday, July 21, 2013

A Parable from the Duck Pond

My friend and fellow Quaker Josh von Kuster has written a parable directed toward Quakers, but it speaks to us all.

Once, ducks migrated all over, flying south every year in the winter, and north again in the summer. Their squawking as they flew  brought cool weather with them South and warm weather with them North. They went all over, looking for a peaceful pond where they could be free to stay year-round and the weather would be just right.  Finally, they found such a place., and settled. The migration stopped.

As the generations went by, the ducks taught each other of their forebearers’ travels. How they brought the weather with them when they squawked and flew.

One day, a little duckling didn't want just to learn about traveling and squawking. This curious duckling decided to live out its curiosity.

It wanted to actually travel and squawk.

The flock encouraged the duckling, such behavior being unfamiliar but exciting to them. So off it flew.

As the years went by, the flock kept teaching each other about the migrators. They found new and exciting ways to teach each other about their elders. They didn't notice the weather changing on their pond, they grew comfortable with the heat in the summer and the cold in the winter.

One day, the duckling was invited to come home. The duckling was missed by its friends so they asked the curious duckling to come and talk about migrating. Setting travels and squawking aside for a while, the curious duckling, now full-grown, came back to the pond. The curious duck told them of all it had seen, and how great the weather can be and how nasty. The duckling was brimming with knowledge and experience and wisdom and spoke of the wider world.

But the flock was not gathered only to hear the curious duck. It was so much fun talking about their elders and how things used to be far away in the past. It was even more fun coming up with new and exciting ways to teach each other about their proud traditions in the future. They were so busy talking about techniques and pedagogy they never took the time to ask the duckling what could be done to migrate again.

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