I did a talk around four months ago, focusing on one of the stories I had written. It was my first dramatic storytelling in years. Let me know what you think.
A man named Derrick stumbles across the landscape, his eyes filled with despair. Wiping the sweat of his brow and surveying the horizon, all he sees is poverty and devastation. He sees houses torn and people begging on the streets. He sees children crying and mess everywhere. Everyone is fighting among themselves over anything they can find of value – cigarettes, honey and guns.
A man comes up to him, his clothes in tatters, and asks him for help. He refuses and is met with violent outrage.
“You know we could have saved this planet if it wasn’t for you!”
“What do you mean?” the man asks.
“You, the gatekeeper, kept thinking money and greed were all that was worth in this world. You kept the money from the people who needed it most. “
“I didn’t personally…”
“That doesn’t matter. You didn’t do anything about it. You didn’t suffer and slave and want a better world.”
“But no one asked me too. And it wasn’t profitable!”
With this the man spits on the ground.
“Who cares about profit now!”
Derrick solemnly looks down.
He sees his brand name sneakers and wonders if was all worth it for this poverty.
He wonders about himself. On if he had a good life. If he had something he could tell his children if he had any. He had been a middle-manager. He loved it in a way, the monotonous same dealings everyday, very predictable. No real responsibility, but enough to get a bigger paycheck.
Back When he was young, he would anticipate, procrastinate and hesitate. He wouldn’t change, not for himself, not for anyone. He was scared, sared to vulnerable, scared for things he couldn’t predict.
And now he was alone and morbid.
“Well what can I do now?” Derrick cried out
And the man said “Well come help us rebuild.”
“It will take forever though!”
“And not long enough. Come. You should know the power of a community.”
And so they went down and the man helped them. He cleaned up the rubbish, he helped with rebuilding the town. He built houses and trees and learnt how to do things he never imagined. He cooked and cleaned and spent days helping other people.
Years later the same man, with far better clothes on, came back to him and asked:
“So what do you see Derrick?”
I see change. But it’s so different from before. It’s organic, natural, it’s happening of it’s own accord. This never happened before.
Because before Derrick, people weren’t willing to change. Now they were forced to. Maybe in a few years the change will slow down, and our community won’t be as good. Necessity is the prime reason to do things.
So what will you do to keep it going?
Think differently. Think not of greed. Think of sacrifice, of doing things that are good for the mind and the spirit. Don’t let money corrupt your thinking. Time is the most valuable asset. So for now Derrick, do what you need to do.
Society is improving. People are happy and spending time with people they love, doing what they love, and not just for money.
A few years later the man dies, and Derrick laments his loss. With no leader, the community suffers, and greed sets in. Slowly people are more suspect of each other, and everything regrettably stays the same. No improvements, no innovation, it ends up stagnating.
Derrick, now with a family, wonders on what to do. His son comes up to him
“Daddy, why aren’t there any new playgrounds? Sis and me want to play!”
“But you don’t need any new playgrounds. The ones you have are fine!”
“But they’re borrring!”
And he was right. They were boring. They didn’t need changing – but they were boring.
Slowly the schools became not as good. And the government didn’t want anything to do with them. People didn’t care about those in need of help.
A hundred years passes and a man surveys the landscape instead of destruction he sees a vast city. Everyone seems to be having fun. A man comes up to him.
Hi I’m Derrick, you must be new here.
Yes, this is incredible! You have an amazing city. How did you do it?
I listened to my children. They tell us things we don’t want to hear. And you don’t even need kids to find out.
There is a kid in everyone of us. The fun, happy, truthful kid who wants nothing more than to enjoy himself and make everything change for the better.