Wednesday, October 05, 2011

New Circumstances and Old Procedures

Consider the story of the mother and her young daughter preparing Easter dinner. Before placing the ham in the oven for baking, the mother cut both ends off the ham.

“Why did you cut off the ends of the ham?” asked the daughter.

“That’s the way my mother always did it,” replied the mother.

The daughter quickly got on the telephone to the grandmother and posed the question. The grandmother replied that she does, indeed, always cut the ends off the ham before placing it in the over. When asked why, the grandmother replied, “That’s the way my mother always did it.”

It just so happened the next week brought about a visit from great-grandmother. Overcome with curiosity, as young children often are, nothing would do but to pose this same question.

“Great Grandmother, Mommy always cuts the ends off her ham before she puts it in the oven. Mommy says she does it because that’s the way Grandmother always did it. Grandmother says she did it because that’s the way you always did it. Is it true, Great Grandmother? Did you always cut the ends off of the ham?”

“Yes, indeed, my child,” replied the elderly woman.

“But why?” asked the young girl.

Holding her hands about 12 inches apart, she replied, “Because my pan was only this big.”

The point of the story is that when we as humans are faced with a set of circumstances, we come up with procedures to handle those circumstances. So often, our circumstances change…but our procedures stay the same.
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