But the Emperor was very old. He needed to choose a successor to the throne.
. . . .
All the children in the land were to come to the palace. There they would be given special flower seeds by the Emperor. “Whoever can show me their best in a year’s time,” he said, “will succeed me to the throne.”
from: The Empty Pot
written and illustrated by Demi
Henry Holt and Company/Macmillan, 1990
Shortly before I retired, a newly-hired and creative young librarian used a white-board to show a video clip during storytime. I still used filmstrips. You remember those inch-and-a-half or so wide celluloid strips wound around and around and stored in a small metal canister. I threaded one end of the strip through a projector and turned a dial to advance each image, one by one. Sometimes a sound recording was provided, mostly not. I read the words across the bottom of the projected image or from an accompanying booklet to the children who were more fascinated with the machine than the story.
I showed live-action and animated 35 mm films, too. The kids loved that equipment even more than the filmstrip projector.
Mostly, I read books to the kids. I used props and we did lots of interactive play. But when it was time for me to retire, I felt confident in the next generation and made room for them and their technology and their new and creative ways of sharing stories and information.
Our new library leadership is dynamic, creative, and attentive to the needs of the people they serve. All important qualities in a leader.
Like all businesses and organizations, non-profit and for-profit, countries all around the world also need to transfer power from generation to generation. They all use different means.
Japan’s Emperor recently announced his abdication. Akihito will formally announce his abdication later this evening (May 7, 2019) and will remain in power until midnight. His era of “achieving peace” will end and his son, Naruhito will usher in his own era of “beautiful harmony.” At age 85, Akihito is planning on enjoying his retirement.
In 2013, Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, citing old age at age 75, abdicated to her son Alexander.
Also in that same year, Pope Benedict XVI shocked the world on February 28, when he became the first pope to resign in almost 600 years. His official statement cited poor health and declining mental faculties. Some say there may be more to it.
On 11 April 2019, Omar al-Bashir was ousted in a military coup d'état in Sudan.
Was Oliver North ousted as president of the National Rifle Association last month (4/27/19) or did he resign? That’s a matter of opinion. Many sides of that issue are still being discussed. But too bad, it’s over finances, not a serious common-sense gun-ownership conversation.
Changes in leadership in our country seem like daily occurrences. They didn’t used to be. Of the 15 Cabinet level Departments in the US Government, 7 are held by an acting secretary? That means they have not been confirmed by Congress.
Interim secretaries are in place at the
Department of Homeland Security
Office of Management and Budget
Department of Defense
Department of the Interior
Small Business Administration
and the ambassador’s office at the United Nations.
Mick Mulvaney, chief of staff, is also serving in an acting capacity.
This interesting chart from the New York Times shows who left and when:
One can only think how disruptive all these changes are in a government charged with protecting over 320 million citizens. (based on the latest United Nations estimates)
So how can the Emperor in Demi’s classic tale (quoted above) decide who will replace him? The one whose work was best, as determined by the Emperor, would win the throne.
At the end of the year all but one child returned to the Emperor with a beautiful flower. Ping’s friend teased him about his empty flower pot, but he was encouraged by his father. Ping “went straight away to the palace.”
The Emperor asked him, “Why did you bring an empty pot?”
Ping began to cry as he explained.
The Emperor “exclaimed to one and all, 'I have found him!. . .the seeds I gave you had all been cooked. So it was impossible for any of them to grow.'”
Ping’s combination of honesty and courage won him the Emperor’s throne.
It is what we all long for in our country of great opportunity, leaders with honesty and courage, and the will to do the right thing.
-—stay curious! (and vote)