40+FAB Blog

More than just a number

I love reading story books to my sons. Some of these stories bring back memories of what was read to me as a child, and others are new, but the morals of them as simple as they seem, capture the imagination and calls one to action.

So my son read a book to me as part of his homework called “The False Tooth Fairy” by Julia Donaldson. I learnt so many lessons from that book and ended up buying a copy for myself to read it back to him and point out life lessons that can be learnt from it. I will paraphrase parts of the story to highlight these lessons.

It starts with the Queen tooth fairy who is sending out new recruits. They all get two bags and a map of where to operate. The fairy known as 15 goes to her allocated town of operation and does the best she can to find the teeth of little children.

The fairy’s quest is unfruitful and she is about to give up and head back to base, when she discovers an old man’s false teeth in a cup by his bed, she promptly seizes them and returns to base. Her boss is well pleased with the find but does not express that to her, she only tells her she could do better.

A principle of acknowledging people can be learnt here. The Queen fairy preferred to call everyone by a number rather than by their names. Have you ever felt like you were just a number in the system? That system will never recognise your hard work, just like fairy 15 was not praised for what she had done, but told she should work harder and do more.
That system is only interested in you making up the numbers for their bottom line.

When we ignore people and focus on the numbers to make up the numbers – or our gain, we end up with a system that will soon crash, pretty much like what happened in the 2008 financial crisis.

If you do not see me as more than just a number, you will not acknowledge me for who I truly am. The lack of regard for one another leads humanity to a huge crash.

We will continue the tale of the false tooth fairy in the next blog.