THE STONE IN THE ROAD
Civic responsibility means doing something,
not complaining that something
ought to be done.
There is a story told of a king who lived long ago in a country across the sea.
He was a very wise king and spared no
effort to teach his people good habits.
Often he did things which seem
strange and useless; but all that he did,
he did to teach his people to be
industrious and careful.
"Nothing good can come to a nation." he said,
"whose people complain and expect
others to fix their problems for them.
God give the good things of life to those
who take matters into
their own hands."
One night, while everyone else slept, he
placed a large stone in the road that led
past his place. Then he hid behind a
hedge and waited to see what would happen.
Everyone who came by complained and whined
because the stone lay in the road,
but no one touched it.
At night, the millers's daughter came past.
She was a hard working girl, and
was very tired.
But she said to herself, "It is almost
dark. Somebody may fall over this stone in the night."
So she tugged at the heavy stone. It was hard to move but she pulled and pulled and pushed and lifted until at last she moved it from its place. To her surprise, she found a box underneath.
The box was heavy for it was filled with something. Upon it was written: "This box belongs to the one who moves the stone."
She opend the lid, and found it was full of gold.
"My friends," said the king, "we often find obstacles and burdens in our way. We may complain out loud while we walk around them if we choose, or we can lift then and find out what they mean."
Then the wise king mounted his horse and with a polite, "Good evening," rode away.
Adapted from The Moral Compass
by William J. Bennett