“Greed and short sighted action destroy the goose that laid the golden egg. The wise think about long term goals.”
Franklin, NC -- (ReleaseWire) -- 03/09/2010 -- In this noted quote, Aesop teaches us the importance of developing long-term goals and with all our current economic difficulties, we think the timing is right for President Obama to appoint a U.S. President's Commission on National Goals for America, as we recently proposed in the Franklin Press in Franklin, North Carolina. Aesop of Aesop’s Fables, author of the ancient fable, The Goose That Laid the Golden Eggs, is thought to have lived on the Greek Island of Samos around 500 BC. Aesop’s stories impressed Socrates, Aristotle and Plato. His fables, which initially survived by oral tradition, were later written down and are still used to teach character and values. Over 600 fables are attributed to him.
We usually hear Aesop’s fable about the goose that laid the golden egg as a child, though Aesop told his stories to young and old, wealthy and poor, philosopher and King. As the story goes, a couple owned a goose that laid golden eggs, this made the couple happy and quite wealthy. As time went by they become dissatisfied and decided to cut the goose open hoping to get more golden eggs. They found an ordinary goose inside and no more golden eggs. The goose died and the source of their wealth was gone because of short-term greed.
As we studied Aesop, we found that each generation retells the stories and reaches new conclusions about their meaning. In thinking back over the fable of the goose, we couldn’t help reflecting on our country. Is America is like the goose who laid the golden egg in terms of all the opportunity and liberty it has provided? Today, are we through shortsightedness cutting open the goose by not having long-term goals? We have had freedom and wealth as a nation. We have had these things, at least in part, because we have had a sound economic strategy and the greatest educational system in the world. Within our nation is opportunity for everyone, something Aesop would have approved.
As we look back toward the end of the 1950’s, our nation realized under the leadership of President Dwight Eisenhower that we needed goals in areas like education, technology and economics. We needed to know in what direction we were headed, so we could get there. Eisenhower appointed, The U. S. President’s Commission on National Goals and the publication, Goals for Americans was presented toward the end of his term, which spelled out national goals on technology, economy, education, employment and other critical areas. This meant we were a nation with goals. Students in Colleges and Universities across the United States during the early 1960’s studied, discussed and critiqued Goals for Americans. One goal stated that we should avoid heavy concentrations of economic power in order to maintain an atmosphere of fair competition. In education the goal was clear; to strengthen education at every level in every discipline. This was soon followed by President Kennedy who challenged us to develop the technology to land a man on the moon and that we pass a Civil Rights Act to end racial discrimination.
Is it time for us to once again come together, to agree on what we want and on where we want to be as a nation in future years? Perhaps Aesop’s wisdom on long- term goal directed thinking still applies today and we should call on President Obama to establish a Non-Partisan Presidential Commission on Goals with public involvement. The commission would consult the necessary experts but most of all involve extensive dialogue with our citizens and youth. We think much of our “deadlocked” political system is due to our failure to establish national goals with public involvement.
Citizens working together with a mutual vision for the future…..could anything be more powerful? Such an undertaking needs all of us, as we reestablish goals for our American Dream.
We hope President Obama as well as our nation's youth will get a chance to review this proposal.
Gordon Mercer is international president of Pi Gamma Mu International Honor Society, Professor of political science and a columnist. Marcia Mercer is a writer and columnist. The views expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of other organizations. Call 828-369-2693 for additional information or go to http://notesonquotes.com to review this published column or other columns that relate to understanding leadership.