The magic blue table

In grade two, I was a real nuisance.

I’d talk all the time, distract the other kids and lose focus.

Enter Mrs Metcalfe.

One day after class she pulled me aside and excitedly explained:

“Pete, I’ve got a surprise for you tomorrow. It’s a brand new, bright blue table that is magic!”

Seeing my mouth slightly agape, thinking “did she say MAGIC?!”, she continued:

“It’s magic because it stops anyone who sits on it from talking too much, being distracted and losing focus. Just like that!”

Sensing my excitement, she went in for the close:

“Now, I want you to be the first person to sit on it. For the entire week, this magic blue table is all yours. The trick is, you mustn’t tell anyone about its magic powers. Are you in?”

You better believe I was in. I mean, it was a fricking magic table and I had been hand picked and trusted with its secret powers.

So there I sat for an entire week in absolute silence.

I got all my work done, didn’t distract anyone and was more engaged in class than I’d ever been before.

At the end of the week, I received this certificate:

23 years on, I see many lessons in this story.

Perhaps the most important is that in order create change, we must tell stories that spark curiosity and enrolment.

Mrs Metcalfe didn’t tell me I was a bad kid, kick me out of the classroom or lose her temper.

She didn’t give me a list of pro’s and con’s regarding my behaviour, call my mum and or even state exactly what I needed to do better.

Instead, she:

  1. Created a story that I was curious about. A story about magic, tables and secrets.
  2. Enrolled me in the story by empowering me to decide if I was in.

That right there, is some judo changemaking.