**My daughter loves this story and asked me to add it to my blog. It was written almost 17 years ago when I was teaching 2nd Grade. It was during a time when I was frustrated because we were constantly being told how to run our classrooms ~ by people who had no idea what was even involved in the day of a teacher, let alone the organization of an entire classroom. I chose to vent in 'The Land of Analogies'! :) Of course it's transferable to many other situations.
One day a school of fish is swimming along doing what they do best. They were in their formation doing each job in the order it was supposed to be done, per order of the Queen. Suddenly two Penguins arrive on the ocean scene. They see the school of fish and think to themselves that the fish really could be doing a better job at being fish. The Penguins figured since they also swim in the water on occasion that they could give these fish a few pointers. They are only fish. They can’t possibly know what they should be doing. However, they decide they will not approach the fish directly with their suggestions. They decide to go the Great Octopus; or the “Omnipotent Eight-Armed One” as she liked to be called.
They popped in on Queen Heloise, ruler of the sea. They knew that they were always welcome in her presence. She loved to hear from her loyal constituents. First, the Penguins complained that the fish were not behaving as well as they believe that fish should behave. “We feel they should somehow be accomplishing more than they are presently accomplishing!” bellowed the over-sized Penguin. Queen Heloise responded by saying, “I truly applaud your astute recommendations. I will have the fish do more work. I will look into the problem and correct it immediately!!!
The queen visited the fish early the next morning. All the fish were doing what they were assigned to do, as stated in their present policy, which was written by the queen herself. “However,” she thought, “the Penguins must have noticed an error that I have currently missed. Naturally, I don’t want the penguins to think that I’m not doing my job as Queen of the Sea, so I must go and write a new and improved policy!” And off she glides ready to put her camouflage ink and eight arms to use. She writes a biting memo to the school of fish and has it published in the local newspaper. It begins like this:
My Dear Fish,
It has come to my attention that your job performance is substandard. Each and every Penguin has complained that you are lacking in your duties. As you are aware, the Penguins swim in the water with you, therefore, they must know what they are talking about in reference to your performance.
Please read the revised job description and follow the new procedures. Kindly ignore the revised copy from last week. All the Penguins have complained that you are not performing as fish should perform, therefore, you must amend your ways.
The fish couldn’t believe what they were reading …AGAIN!! How would the Penguins have any idea how to perform like a fish? They are Penguins. They have not been schooled in the same way. They do not have the same equipment with which to survive on a daily basis. They do not deal in the same exact element as the fish do. How could they possibly have any clue how a fish should behave and when the behavior is or is not sufficient?
Well, they considered speaking with Queen Heloise- “The Great Eight-Armed One. Then they realized that it would be senseless. The Big Q. changes like the ocean currents. Last week the seals didn’t think the fish were doing a good job. This week it’s the Penguins. Who will it be next week…. the Seagulls? That would be the seaweed that broke lobster’s back. I could see it now.. the Seagulls would probably inform Queen Heloise that we were not swimming close enough to the surface of the water and a new policy would be written with their wants (and hunger) in mind.
That would truly be the end of the nice school of fish. They would be plucked off by the seagulls (this week’s group of choice). Then, one by one, unqualified sea animals would take over their job of running the fish school.
The structure and knowledge that it takes to run a school of fish would be swept away with the forever-changing tides. All proven and working procedures would be gone. No one would know how to run the school. Every fish would be left to fend for itself. Chaos would ensue.
Ultimately, the blame for the tumultuous seas would lie in the fins of the fish. They would take on the blame whether they followed the procedures or not. Their choice was simple. They could either sink or swim; and we all know that swimming is what fish do best. So they followed the new policy, knowing full well that next week it would be changed. Maybe for the better…Maybe for the worse. Thank goodness that as fish they were taught to roll with the tides!
Cindy Gagne Teixeira
Just like you, I wear many hats. I'm a mom, a teacher, a friend, a daughter, a sister, and a writer. I choose to laugh (and talk... and write) about my problems because crying takes too much time.