A story is told about a group of people that were invited by the king for a luncheon at the palace. Upon their arrival, they were ushered into the dining room, which had very wide tables.
A lot of appetite and arresting aroma characterized the scent in the dining room. The master of ceremonies called everyone to order and gave eating instructions.
No one was allowed to use their hands to eat. So guests were given forks that had very long handles covering almost the vertical length of the table.
For about an hour the guests sat confused on how they could eat the food. Whoever tried to bend the fork toward self found the gesture undermined by its length.
When almost everyone had given up also regretting why they had honoured the invitation, a beggar who was standing outside the dining room, hit by the aroma of food signalled to one of the guests about a very viable option.[caption id="" align="alignright" width="476"] Love goes to great lengths to care[/caption]
The advice was that those seated on the left-hand side should stretch and feed those on the right side of the table and vice versa! And this worked very well!
This story teaches us a lot of lessons. In the first place, we should always have a second option in whatever circumstances or endeavour we may be engaged.
It is also paramount to respect and value people irrespective of their status. In the context of this story, it was what some would call “a mere beggar” that saved the stuck guests.
Usually in an academic institution like Uganda Christian University, it is possible to under look the contribution of members who may be non-teaching staff. These may include estate workers or even security officers. However, they are vital departments that form a foundation of academic excellency without which, even the academic part may fail to operate.
The following options may be of great help in practising alternative solutions to unexpected dilemmas:
Always ask yourself and provide an answer to the question: “What if things change?” Imagine if one travels from Mukono to Kampala to visit a relative they have not fixed an appointment with but expects to get transport back from that relative.
What happens in case one finds the home closed with phones switched off.
Avoid taking things for granted. This enables one to face any unplanned occurrence.
Value humanity irrespective of physical appearance or social status. See God’s image in every person.
Get familiar with disassociating self with over dependency on specific people as the only sources of alternative ways to address a challenge. It is true that for instance we may have home electricians. These should only help us address technical challenges. But one for sure may not need an electrician to fix a new bulb in the bulb holder.
Carry back up supplies such as money, an extra pen, or keep spare keys with trusted friends or in a safe place.
Always have an exit or entrance strategy known to you personally in offices or residential areas so that once an emergency occurs, one can always get in or out.
Our brains are an infinite reward from God with the ability to always offer us alternatives. Let us continue maximizing their capacity for the greater glory of God’s kingdom.
The author is the Vice Chancellor, UCU