With the following story, written by our program facilitator Maja Tomšič, we show you what challenges we face when trying to work in teams. Do you perhaps recognize yourself in one of the characters? Read what happens when we respect diversity and trust each other.
Where the deep forest and the sunny meadow meet, there is the home of the Mama Bear and the Grasshopper. They live in a small and cozy wooden cottage. You probably wonder how a bear can live together with a grasshopper… True, they are so very different and that is why both of them have got their own room. But when they do things together, their differences help them be successful.
It was a lazy Sunday afternoon and the weather was awful (like today), so the Mama Bear and the Grasshopper decided to bake a cake. The Mama Bear suggested using the ingredients that they already had at home and an old and proven recipe: honey, nuts, jam, and blueberries for a blueberry cake.
The Grasshopper said, “Mama Bear, you are so boring, we always bake the blueberry cake. Why don’t we do it differently today? I am a good jumper and can try to get apples from high trees. I could also ask our neighbors to give us a new recipe for an apple cake.”
“What if you don’t reach the apples? What if the neighbors weren’t home to give you the recipe? What if you broke your leg when hopping higher and higher? Are you aware of all these risks?” said Mama Bear.
“No risk, no fun! If we do not try and aim higher and harder, we cannot progress,” said the Grasshopper.
“Please listen to me. I just want us to have a great afternoon and a delicious dessert. I also think it is easier to use home ingredients and not risk too much,” said the Mama Bear.
While they were arguing, something small and hard fell on the Mama Bear’s head. Bam. bam, bam. Bum, bum, bam. It looked like raining stones. The Grasshopper protected her head, looked up and there she saw a bushy tailed Squirrel sitting on a branch, throwing nuts and smiling.
The Squirrel stopped throwing the nuts and said, “Tolstoy once said that if it is true that there are as many minds as there are heads, then there are as many kinds of love as there are hearts.”
And then she started throwing nuts again, making the Mama Bear and the Grasshopper slightly annoyed. Suddenly she jumped down the branch and asked what the Mama Bear and the Grasshopper were up to.
“We want to bake a cake but we cannot agree on the ingredients and the recipe,” they replied.
The Squirrel collected all the nuts she had thrown down, as she always took care of the forest’s tidiness. She continued, “We already have the ingredients – nuts. Don’t you think so?”
The other two agreed but then another challenge popped up: how to crack the nuts?
“I can crack them,” somebody shouted. It was the Hedgehog walking by.
“The Squirrel will throw all the nuts down again and I will collect them with my spikes. Then I will simply roll over and the nuts will crack,” said the Hedgehog.
The Mama Bear, the Grasshopper and the Squirrel stared at the Hedgehog and did not know what to say.
“I am afraid you will eat them all,” said the Squirrel at last.
“I swear I will not,” said the Hedgehog. “It’s simply not fair to eat all the nuts and I will not do it,” he promised.
“Let’s trust him. If we want to eat the cake today, it’s time to act,” the Grasshopper added.
They agreed to divide the work. The Squirrel provided nuts and the Hedgehog cracked them, the Mama Bear added honey, while the Grasshopper hopped high up to get the apples and hurried over to the neighbor’s to get a new recipe.
Although at the beginning it seemed that these animals, so different from one another, would not be able to bake the cake, they succeeded very well. They learned that cooperation and diversity are good because they could learn from each other. Moreover, they made a compromise, which led them to the desired result. The delicious cake on the table was a proof of team progress. And the neighbors liked it too!