Take it away, Rob!
Ahh, this tale has been stored away for quite some time! I think it deserves to be spread around the world, though. It has a message and meaning that all can benefit from. I am pleased that I have been asked to share this with you.
I once knew a frog who held the name Silas. During the stretch of time when our lives crossed, he was rather advanced in years. He was at the stage of life where one passes from being a master of his art to instead being a bestower of his knowledge. And Silas’ knowledge was unmatched in his time. No contemporaries or past legends had reached the levels of expertise Silas rested at. In fact, even to this day, none have been able to surpass him.
But all this talk of prestige and status does no good when we only remain in the abstract. Our story centers around the interaction between Silas and a fellow named Thanos. Thanos was a a very capable scorpion whose shell was a subdued yet striking shade of green. He had recently become Silas’ apprentice, and the training and mentoring process that usually spans years was proceeding at a highly accelerated rate. The dynamic and connection between these two kindred spirits was strong and very conducive to success.
Yet again, however, I find myself talking in the abstract. We have not yet mentioned what art this wealth of knowledge resides in. Silas’ craft was sledding. He became so proficient that it was no longer simply an enjoyable snowy activity, but a full-year and practical one as well. Sledding became a tool that he could mold and apply to just about any situation. I know this seems rather impossible and ludicrous, but strokes of pure genius almost always do - and his innovations in the uses of sledding were undoubtedly ingenious. They are too groundbreaking for me to effectively encapsulate in this tale...
Regardless, Silas was passing along the best of his knowledge and tricks to Thanos. And even though they were moving along at a blazingly fast pace, the process was still rather intense and draining. It’s quite a task to absorb the most advanced knowledge in the world! The path is filled with ups and downs, and by the end of his training, Thanos was really feeling the impact of it. He knew, however, that there was some pivotal task or moment to close out the training that was yet to come. Everyone knows that you always had a final task or session or experience that was so foundational to the ultimate value of your training that it almost singlehandedly holds your key to success. What exactly this final event is always differs, though. Every mentor creates their own training path, deciding what the best way to pass on their expertise is. And with a mentor like Silas, the final moment would have to be something completely groundbreaking.
I could traipse through the days leading up this closing experience, but I see no point in doing so. When the day arrived and Thanos woke up, he could feel it. He knew it was time. He headed to Silas’ abode, which we have not yet described, so we shall do now. Silas’ living space was strikingly reminiscent of Yoda’s cozy cavern in Return of the Jedi. The comparison is actually even more fitting considering the nature of Yoda’s relationship with Luke and its similarities to the relationship between Silas and Thanos. Yoda was an unrivaled master, and he passed on his wisdom to Luke. Isn’t that what’s happening here?
Let’s jump back into the action. When Thanos arrived at Silas’ home, he found him sitting at the kitchen table just like at the start of every other day. But today, instead of getting up from the table after breakfast, they continued to sit. Eventually, Silas directed the conversation to the nature of this day, to the impact and importance of this day. He told Thanos that his final event involved no test or feat, that nothing was required of him. There wasn’t even some type of unifying concept that he would have to grasp or comprehend.
Silas put his hand to his head, and, as one motions to remove a hat, he whisked his hair off into his hand. Thanos became the only living creature to learn that Silas was bald. Placing the wig in the center of the table, Silas explained...
“Every teacher chooses how they wish to pass on their knowledge. The experience of mentoring is completely theirs to shape. They decide what is important and what to focus on.
“Throughout our sessions, you have absorbed the results of some of the finest moments of my career. You are poised to, with time, break through the ceilings I reached. Your legend will surpass mine and all others we know of.
“But this does not inherently mean anything. You must not forget this. Even though you have all the skills and means to accomplish great things, there must be something that drives you, something that holds meaning to you. Otherwise, everything is empty. Hold onto what makes things shine for you. Hold close what makes things connect and seem worthwhile - what makes you able to survive and succeed. Never lose sight of these things.
“And this wig represents that lesson. I hope it will stay with you and consistently remind you of my words. I pass this onto you as the closer to our training. It is meant to represent the immeasurable value and incomprehensible necessity of keeping close to you what you find meaningful. Ground in your life what makes you happy and what makes living a beautiful experience. For without that, everything is nothing.”
Thank you, Rob! Always a pleasure to hear one of your stories. And the children seem to have enjoyed it immensely!