Monday, March 16, 2009

The Story of Truth and Parable

As the story goes, there once was a person named Truth who had a lot to say. Truth would go to a town, find the market square and start to tell everyone what he knew to be true. However, people would simply retreat in disgust at the site of Truth. They would turn away, one after another, saying:

"Oh, the naked Truth"! or "Gawds, it's the dirty Truth" or "Save us all, it's the awful Truth!" or many more similar exclamations.

For Truth was smelly, naked, awful, dirty and many more things not very palatable to the local populace. They turned away, never listening to Truth's message. Town after town, Truth would walk away in despair; he needed to be heard, but no one was lending him an ear.

One day, Truth overheard someone talking about Good King Parable's lands, and how the King was so wise that no problem went unsolved in his domains. Truth journeyed to the distant kingdom, and found Parable's castle. He entered the brightly lit chamber room unannounced. All the splendidly dressed courtiers turned away as they glimpsed his presence and, as normal, shouted loudly about the horrible, terrible, unbearable Truth.

King Parable, sitting on his golden throne at the head of the long hall rose suddenly, and everyone fell silent, even Truth. King Parable then said to Truth;

"Truth, be still and I shall help you be heard".

King Parable clapped his hands and a bevy of servants came with soap and water and sponges and cleansed Truth from head to toe.

King Parable clapped his hands again and a knot of slaves came with many oils and perfumes of rose, lavender and apple blossom and rubbed and massaged Truth until Truth glowed.

King Parable clapped his hands once more and a gaggle of merchants came with a rainbow of colored silks and shoes clustered with pearls and rubies and emeralds. They dressed Truth and he sparkled in the evening sunlight beaming into King Parable's long hall.

And now King Parable said "Truth, go forth and tell your tale, for Truth will always be heard when wrapped in the silks of Parable".

Truth has been gladly heard ever since.

OK, what does this have to do with teaching? The better question is what doesn't this have to do with teaching. No one listens to hard cold facts for long without the warmth given by storytelling. Teachers are the worst, show them a string of power points loaded with charts and facts and graphs and they'll quickly be lost in grading, commenting, just about anything but giving their attention. Students are no different, but they get it all day long, five days a week for years. If teachers can't storytell, if we can't wrap our content in silks that capture the imagination, our students will wander off, maybe not physically, but wander off they will. Every teacher has experiences that drove them to teaching, but rarely shares those passions in their lessons. Let's enthrall our charges, not bury them; find the spark that drove you to your field of work and use it as a golden spike to drive your own truths home. Do our children deserve any less?


  1. enjoyed learning the truth from the parable of truth! nice. Thanx!

  2. is this based on telling truth