Responsibility

English: A girl caresses a snail after having ...

English: A girl caresses a snail after having worked in the garden. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I don’t know what the opposite of green fingered is – grey fingered? Whatever it is, that’s what I am. It’s not that I don’t appreciate the flora on our planet, after all, if it wasn’t around, we would soon run out of oxygen. It’s just that I don’t want the responsibility of looking after it.

It’s no great surprise that both our front garden and back garden are tiled over. No mowing the lawn for us. Although, there are still weeds that find their way through the cracks in the stones as if to mock us.

We have a neighbour, however, who adores her garden. Her front garden is set out in a Japanese style with a path that winds its way through to the front door. In her back garden, she likes to grow vegetables. She told me a gardening story today which tickled me and I just had to share it.

There is a 4-year-old boy who lives in the neighbourhood. He often appears when our neighbour is knee-deep in gardening, keen to help. Today was no exception. Our neighbour tended her garden and the boy kept watch. After a short delay, he spotted a snail crawling across her path and asked if he could take it. Our neighbour considered the request carefully. After all, in the past she saw him stamping on snails and throwing them into his pond.

“I’ll make you a deal. You can have the snail as long as you promise not to hurt it. No stamping on it and no drowning the poor thing.”

The boy’s face contorted as he weighed up the deal in front of him. On the one hand was the prize, a nice juicy, fat snail. On the other were the heady responsibilities it came with. After a short delay, he made up his mind and nodded vociferously. Our neighbour, duty bound by the agreement handed over the snail.

After a short delay, to her considerable dismay, she saw the boy cast the snail into his pond.

“I thought you promised not to drown the snail?” her challenge.

“What does drown mean?” his response.

The leadership lesson of the day is when you make any kind of agreement, make sure you understand what you are getting into. It’s also worthwhile making sure the other party understands their obligations too. Could save a lot of upset down the track.

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