KT:The Parable of The Popular Teacher

Clark Kent

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Sep 11, 2006
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The Parable of The Popular Teacher
By Mills Crenshaw - 04-07-2009 07:19 PM
Originally Posted at: KenpoTalk


The Parable of The Popular Teacher
A proud and extremely popular teacher gathered the multitude of his followers and lectured them on the proper limits of self defense. "You have been practicing kicks and multiple strikes," he said sadly. "...and you have been spent many hours mastering the staff and spear and long distance archery." He shook his head sadly. "And as a result, those from other cultures fear you and dislike you. Come, follow me," he smiled, "put away your long distance weapons and invite your enemies to do the same. Then they will like you, you will be popular and they will no longer be enemies; but friends."

Because the teacher was extremely popular his followers assumed that this must be wisdom; so they laid down their long distance weapons and ceased to practice defense against multiple attacks and applauded the popular teacher for his popular speech. Those in the crowd from other cultures applauded the loudest and smiled the widest and winked and nodded at one another for they far outnumbered the popular teacher and his followers and they did indeed fear their long distance weapons and their superior training. And the popular teacher was hailed in public for his vision and wisdom; but in private, those of other cultures ridiculed him as a fool.

Soon, those of other cultures began to make ever greater demands of the popular teacher and his followers. Concession after concession were given because, after all, the most important thing was to be loved and to be popular. Before long the demands were too grievous to be born. Timidly, the popular teacher finally said NO. Whereupon those of other cultures, who greatly outnumbered the teacher and his people,, turned on the popular teacher and his followers, slew a third of their number and hauled the remainder into slavery.

The moral? Popularity is not as important as wisdom. The second is of even greater worth: In the real world it is more important to be feared than to be liked.

Finally, any leader who gives up a strategic advantage that protects his people, in exchange for worldly accolades is not only a fool; he is a clear and present danger.

One Mans Opinion


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Master of Arts
Apr 25, 2008
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Southern Cal.
I look at it as a choice to be made between being liked, and being respected.

This choice is something we all have to make continually, every day, in thousands of small ways. For instance, as a mom with two young kids, I know certain decisions that I make will draw loud protest (stop playing lego star wars right now and put your bikes away before they get stolen) but which is the right thing to do, for their ultimate benefit; but if I want to be the "good cop" mom, I could put off telling them to do something they won't like, hoping it will work out so they can escape the negative consequences (maybe their bikes sitting on the front lawn won't be stolen); or I could just let their dad be the "bad cop" instead so I can come out smelling like roses.

The problem as I see it, with choosing to be liked over choosing respect, is that sooner or later, you will actually get neither popularity nor respect. Contempt of whomever you dont' respect will soon sour whatever you liked about them. In my experience, I have seen parents that gave in to whatever they thought would please their children, figuring that this would earn them popularity. In the end however, the lack of respect that resulted from this policy created kids that were harder and harder to please, and they were spoilt and unhappy. These kids don't treat their parents as if they liked them very much.

At the end of the day, no matter how many decisions that I have made which annoy my kids, they are usually happier than if I gave in and let them have a lot of slack. I could swear that they actually initiate more hugs and kisses at bedtime after I've been strict. Oh, the irony!

Principle: respect comes first, popularity may sometimes follow. But respect never follows when popularity leads.