Where Teaching Is Worth A Hill Of Beans

By September 1, 2014Guest Columns, Hot Topic

By Larry Lindner. It was a distant place much like ours. A land dominated by a love for green beans. It was, in fact, their currency. But the land was in turmoil. Everyone was concerned for the education of their young, because no one was teaching them anything.

Because the leaders of those who taught the young insisted teachers must be given more green beans. A lot more. Yet most of those teachers who followed didn’t really like the green beans all that much. They just wanted to teach. But those who led them would not listen. All they heard were the howls of the few who wanted so very much more. This howling was encouraged, and the rest were discouraged, some forcibly so.

And thus it was that teaching was withheld from the land, and the young stayed home. Some played outside, some stayed inside, and some few pretended to be teachers and sang songs about their ABCs.

Meanwhile, those who gave order to the land held an incredible fortune in green beans. More than you could imagine. Green beans collected from all in the land, taxes from year after year after year. Even those who taught paid these taxes. Even those who governed. And between those who taught and those who governed, was one huge hill of green beans.

The common people of this land allowed those in control, to be in control. And the youth, those who were the land’s future, felt they had no control at all. No one was learning a thing.

The mothers and the fathers were concerned. Very concerned. And they talked amongst themselves and they all agreed it was a horrible time to be living in that distant place. But they had heard stories of a great wizard from the west who had powers beyond imagining. It was said he could bring together those who governed with those who taught and somehow make them agree on things so life could return to normal.

This wizard was summoned and he met with everyone concerned, but even he couldn’t find a way to divide the green beans in a way that made everyone happy. His magic wand was impotent. Sad to say. And his way with mumbo jumbo, at least on this day, lacked as much mumbo as jumbo.

Finally, the sole leader of the land who had tried so hard not to be involved, got involved. This leader stood up and said with the greatest of authority, eyes blinking charismatically, “Oh, please oh please, can’t you all just go back to work and teach and we’ll sort this thing out someday somehow sometime?”

Much as everyone admired this speech of speeches, nothing changed. The teachers stayed home. The students stayed home. And the parents stayed home. And time soon stripped the land’s trees of all their leaves and scattered them to the ever-colder wind, and still, nothing changed.

Save one thing. Those green beans weren’t quite so green anymore. And there were less of them. Less families too. They were moving on to other even more distant lands. First it was just one family, but then it was another, and soon several at once.

And eventually some teachers moved away, and so did some of those who gave order to the land. Until one day they were all gone. Even the name of this now dark and distant place, remains unknown.

There is no one to say who was last to leave. Was it a family, a teacher, one who led the teachers, one who gave order to the land, or was it in fact the leader of the land? While no one will ever know this trivial thing, everyone agrees to this day that this distant and lovely place, despite its wealth of green beans that once grew everywhere and all over the place, now, just isn’t worth, well, a hill of beans.

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