I recently had the opportunity to be a substitute teacher for a 1st grade class. (I was probably a bottom-of-the-barrel substitute selection, but that didn’t stop my enthusiasm.) As the library lady at school, I get the distinct privilege of sharing a book with the students once a week, but that Friday I was given two opportunities to read books of my choosing to the class. The only problem was I couldn’t abandon my newly acquired class to run up to the library for reading materials, and the junior high classes were using the space so I couldn’t take the 1st graders to the library. I had to tap into the resources at my disposal and pick books from the numerous reading tubs available in the classroom. That is how I stumbled upon Six Crows by Leo Lionni and the powerful statement, “Words can do magic.”
The Six Crows fable is one where a wise old owl witnesses the great lengths that a farmer and six crows go to in order to protect or steal the farmer’s wheat. After reflecting on the situation, the wise owl couldn’t decide who was being sillier, so she stepped in to help. The owl advised both the farmer and the crows to speak to the other and work out their problem instead of allowing the wheat to die because the two parties were so busy trying to scare the other away. The scare tactics included terrible scarecrows and giant bird puppets; both of which prevented the wheat from being tended or eaten.
As she tried to convince the crows to speak to the farmer, the owl promised them that “Words can do magic.” The crows and farmer were not certain that there was anything that could be said to rectify the situation. Eventually, the owl convinced them to meet at her tree. When the farmer and crows arrived at the owl’s tree, they reluctantly did what the owl had advised. While their words were angry at first, the conversation slowly gave way to recognition that they missed one another and soon laughter followed. Once they had made peace, the farmer and crows wanted to thank the owl, but she was no longer in her tree.
As words were working their magic to build a connection between the farmer and crows, owl was making magic of her own as she made one of the ferocious scarecrows a little friendlier.
I love how inspiration is always there waiting to pop up in our day. (Especially when we can share it with a group of 1st graders.)
Words really can do magic if we allow our conversations to be ones that are open, honest, and compassionate. Remaining silent in many situations only leads to greater tension and distrust. I encourage you today to consider a relationship where silence or a lack of communication is causing stress or silly decisions to be made. Make some magic of your own and use your words to rebuild that connection. Allowing past hurts to stop you from talking to others only causes future anguish. Working magic today with what you say will be the best maneuver you can make to end the silliness in a stratined situation.
By: Melanie A. Peters
P.S. Until a Wise Old Owl Insights service if available, follow Intentergy for more inspiration and ideas.