Little Red Hen Syndrome

redhenDo you know the fable of the Little Red Hen? The little red hen gets no help to plant, nurture, harvest the seed. Nor does she get any help to grind the wheat or bake the bread, but when she asks who will eat the bread, everyone shows up.

In the building of the Brooklyn Bridge, when failure was high, the chief engineer bore all the risk. But when the towers were built and success seemed assured, the vultures descend and attempt to steal a part of the funding. Skimming by unscrupulous corporations happened in the building of the transcontinental railway and happened in the reconstruction efforts of Iraq. Wherever there is money, fame, or glory to be had, you are guaranteed to find the scoundrels who want a piece of the pie.

So what are we to do about people who don’t want to invest the energy and effort to make the bread? Furthermore, what are we to do about people who want to exploit the work of others?

Being aware that it will happen is one significant step. Another is to create the appropriate checks and balances (trust but verify). And since a cheat hates the spotlight, shine the light brightly on suspicious activities.

More importantly, each of us has to find the little red hen in us…. the part of ourselves that is willing to put in the time.

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