Three Strands of a Braided Cord by Dwayne Parsons

First, I give you this short story to make my point: This fictional account could take place anywhere in the free world where family relationships are in place.

“Grandma, look what I can do!” Young Johnnie is beaming with enthusiasm.

She smiles at her grandson, “Yes, what is it you can do, of which you are so proud?”

He takes a single strand of yarn, stretches it out at arm’s length between two clenched fists, relaxes the fiber slightly then snaps it beyond the stretch. It breaks. 

“Oh my!” she exclaims, speaking of course in their native Hindi. “You are VERY strong, indeed!”

“Yes, I am!”

“Can you break it if it were two strands?” Her challenge is one of discernment and parental wisdom.

“Oh, sure, I think so,” whereupon he takes two more lengths of yarn, cuts them free separately with her scissors, and holds them proudly together at arm’s length once again. “Watch!”

She’s smiling attentively.

He performs the same action, but falters and has to really put effort into his snapping trick. One, which is tauter than the other, breaks first; his next attempt breaks the other.

“See? I can do two!”

“Yes, you are very strong indeed! Can you do three?”

“Three strands?”

“Yes. To make it easier for you, let me first wind them together so that they are like one fiber.”

“I think so, sure!”

So, she cuts three strands of equal length for him and braids them into a single thin cord.

“Here you go, mighty man! Let’s see.”

Johnnie takes the offering and stretches it out as before her, relaxes the cord then snaps it suddenly in the same way. But nothing breaks. He takes a breath of determination and tries again and then again but to no avail.

“It’s so hard!”

“I thought it might be. I don’t think I could break three strands woven together either. Do you know that it’s like that when working with others?”

“What do you mean?”

“If you have something you can do by yourself, you may be able. But if it requires two people and one is weaker, it always takes more effort (and patience) to accomplish whatever the hard work may be.”

His dark eyebrows wrinkle with a slight expression of understanding.

“But three people can’t do anything?” he asks.

“No, three people can easily do much more than two if they are woven together properly. Breaking the strands is not the achievement; it is the failure of the group’s leadership. Where there were two, the weaker one broke first and the stronger one gave up on the pressure. The two strands could not hold together because they were not equally aligned; but if we add a third and wind them together, the result doesn’t break so easily, does it?”

“No, I see; the three could not be broken so easily because they were tightly woven together.”

“That’s right, Johnnie. You are very observant. Someday, you may lead many people in the accomplishment of great things.”

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Don’t miss what I’m showing in this rather simple story.

The illustration is about perseverance, which is easier and more certain when you are bound together in a team of three or more. The better the braiding of relationships, the stronger the cord of commitment for everyone involved in the glue of effort, from the leader to the newest member(s).

The braiding of relationships makes it easier for everyone to learn, survive, encourage and accomplish even the most difficult challenges.

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