The Dog, His Mother and a Creative Solution

Hello my people. I know most of you enjoyed the Sallah break but some of us worked through it because we stay in countries where only Christian holidays are recognized. No problem sha – Xmas is very much around the corner. The Career/Mentoring series have been getting a good following and as promised – the plan is to make a call for those interested in having any of our coaches as mentors. Staying tuned also ensures access to some life changing career articles that will come up. You might be wondering if our coaches will only come from the Telecoms sector. Most of them are but we will be seeing profiles from young people making changes in other industries, watch out. Today I want to go on a lighter note but with lessons from a folktale. Growing up came with a lot of these stories and they had huge lessons in management and life but most of us might not realize it then. The folktale in focus today is a very interesting one filled with exciting lessons. Happy reading.

There was a famine in the animal kingdom. This famine had lasted so long that any existing source of food had been completely depleted. The animals knew they had to do something real quick or they would all die off one by one. They called a meeting where every animal was in attendance and they determined that they had to do something drastic. It was decided that the mothers would be sacrificed to ensure the continuation of the animal races. They would eat their mothers.

The dog who had been at the meeting decided to hide his mother. He was not going to sacrifice his mother, so he hid her in the sky. Everyday, he would go to a particular spot where he sang a song asking his mother to drop a rope.

Dog would sing:

Iya Iya ta’kun wa le o
Alu jon jonki jon
Gbogbo araye pa yeye re je
Alu jon jonki jon
Aja gbe ti re o d’orun
Alu jon jonki jon
Iya Iya ta’kun wa le o
Alu jon jonki jon

Mother Mother send down your rope
[Chorus] All have killed and eaten their mothers
[Chorus] Dog has taken his mother to the sky
[Chorus] Mother Mother send down your rope
[Chorus]

His mother would drop a rope and the dog would climb to the sky where his mother would have a feast waiting for him. One day as the dog was singing for his mother to drop the rope, the tortoise was passing by and he hid himself to observe what was going on. He heard the song dog was singing, then he saw a rope being dropped from the sky with which the dog climbed to the sky.

The following day, the tortoise went to the same spot and disguising his voice like the dog’s, he sang the song he had heard the dog sing the day before. A rope dropped from the sky and the tortoise began to climb this rope. At this same time, the dog was just approaching the same spot and he saw the tortoise climbing to the sky. The dog immediately started to sing to his mother. This time, he sang that he was not the one climbing the rope and his mother should cut the rope. Dog’s mother got a pair of scissors and cut the rope sending the tortoise crashing to the ground. This caused tortoise shell to break into several pieces. He managed to glue these pieces together but that is how the tortoise ended up with the rough shell we know today.

Lessons Learned

1. Drastic actions turn into foolish decisions
The animals did not properly analyze the decision they made concerning the famine to see if that was the only sensible option they had. I think they were so numbed by their hunger to even accommodate another solution which might be longer in executing but in the long term ultimately provide the best form of reprieve. It is a lesson in understanding that finding a solution should be done before the situation deteriorate to a desperate level.

2. Love conquers all things
The dog was obviously very hungry like the other animals but he had one thing the others lacked – LOVE. He did not forget the sacrifices made by his mother in bringing him to the world and the care she provided for him up till that time. Many of us are faced everyday with situations that can benefit us but destroy others – what will our decisions be when faced with those life altering situations? That is the mark of real men and women and what stands them apart from the crowd. The dog loves his mother so much that he was not willing to follow the crowd. What a big lesson from a loyal being!

3. Learn to explore uncharted territories
Our lives will always be filled with challenges but we must find creative ways of getting out of them. We cannot afford to be one-faced and accept conventional ways of solving problems; there is a need to chart new courses and territories. The dog knew there must be another way that will ensure a lasting solution for him and he found one.

4. Is it fair to all?
This is a question that is close to the heart of good project managers when negotiating during procurement processes. The goal of negotiation is not to win but provide a common ground for both parties to bring about a win-win situation. The dog wanted to stop his hunger but at the same time; he does not want to kill his innocent mother. It is his ability to be fair that brought about his creativity otherwise he would have gone for the solution that pays only him.

5. Cheating will only destroy you

Mr. Tortoise who apparently was part of the myopic mother-eating group decided to check out the dog’s secret and he did find it. Going ahead to cheat only ended up in a disaster for him. All those in this habit might enjoy it for long but one day their acts betray them.

Our folktales are filled with great lessons of life and I will bring them in future posts again. Next week is the time to meet another Coach who is truly a Coach. Enjoy the rest of the week.