When I was in elementary school, I loved the book “Stone Soup” by Marcia Brown. You may have read this too.
In the book, some soldiers are traveling through a town. They are hungry and ask the peasants for some food. No one will admit to having any to spare, so the travelers announce that they will just need to make stone soup. The peasants are intrigued so when asked for just a little seasoning to improve the stone soup, it is provided. “Stones like these generally make good soup. But oh, if there were carrots, it would be much better,” the travelers say. A villager goes off to fetch some carrots. “A good stone soup should have cabbage,” said the soldiers as they sliced the carrots into the pot. “But no use asking for what you don’t have.” With that Marie announces she might be able to find some cabbage. Before long, folks are willing to provide beef, potatoes, barley and milk. When all was said and done, the soup was fit for a king. “Soon a banquet was spread and everyone sat down to eat. Never had there been such a feast. Never had the peasants tasted such soup. And fancy, made from stones!”
I think in some ways this was a lesson in leadership, perhaps my first leadership book. We are sometimes convinced we cannot provide what is needed, but when presented with an opportunity to contribute to something special, we find inside what is missing. In the end, we all share in something much greater than that with which we started. A little infectious enthusiasm and energy go a long way!