I am in Florida this week with my three grandsons. They are 10 years older than when I launched Hard lessons and posted my first blog. One of my early blogs was about a Labor Day visit to the Nashville Zoo with them. At that time, Big Buddy was 7, Cool Buddy was 5, and Little Buddy was 2.
We started in the Jungle Gym and finished hours later with the alligators (who had enough sense to either sleep or lay in the water on a hot afternoon). Mid-day, just before lunch, we toured the African Savannah–home to three large African elephants named Hakari, Kiba, and Sukari. They were doing elephant things like sloshing in the mud, throwing dirt on their backs, and bumping into each other as they jockeyed for position. It was fun to watch and all three buddies enjoyed it thoroughly.
Hakari, Kiba, and Sukari are close in size, all dirty brown (but gray underneath according to Cool Buddy), have tusks of various sizes, big ears, big feet…you get the picture. So, how do you tell them apart? According to the information sign, you tell them apart by their tails. One has a short tail, one a medium tail with a kink in it, and one (Hakari, I think), a long tail with long hair at the end dragging the ground. And, sure enough, it was easy to spot Hakari who not only had long hair at the end of her (yes, her) tail, but also had a hairy belly (gross according to the buddies).
Later in the day as I was thinking about Hard Lessons, it was hard for me not to be reminded of a lot of so-called leaders I have seen. They spend their time sloshing in the mud, throwing dirt in the air, and bumping into each other as they jockey for position, and in the process, their followers get muddy, dirty and squeezed. Unfortunately, they are harder to recognize because they keep their butts covered and we can’t see their tails. Or can we…?
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Copyright 2019 by Dick Wells, The Hard Lessons Company
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