(A Metaphor)

Once upon a time there was a little boy whose father worked in a nearby city. The boy missed him all day because work kept him away and so he anxiously waited to hear the approaching footsteps outside his front door signaling his father's return each night.

Once home and tired after his day, the father enjoyed a period of peace and quiet reading the newspaper, relaxing in his favorite chair after dinner. Afterward he and the boy would go to another room where they would play before mother would come in and announce that it's time for bed and to "Say goodnight to your father."

On this particular evening the boy was impatient. He didn't want to wait for his father to read the paper. "Dad," he said, "play with me." Seeing how insistent the boy was, his father looked into the paper and, finding a full page map of the world, got an idea. "Okay," he said, "let’s play!"

As he spoke, he began tearing the page with the map on it in half and then in half again, and then again and again until his hands were full of small scraps of rectangular bits of paper containing oceans, poles, continents and land masses. With a broad sweep of his hands he scattered the pieces above and in front of his head, covering the entire floor in the middle of the room. "You put the pieces of this big picture together and by the time you've finished I’ll have read my paper and we can play before your bedtime."

The boy agreed and began putting the pieces together. His father relaxed. Fully absorbed in reading, he then all but forgot about the little boy and his assignment. Before long, however, he felt a small hand tugging at his pant leg. There, seated on the floor was his son, a wide grin lighting his innocent face, and there behind him fully assembled was -- a full map of the world.

Amazed, he dropped his paper and with both his hands took hold of his son and looking him in the eyes said, "How did you ever manage to do that so quickly?"

"It was easy, dad," was the reply. "When you took the page out of the paper, I saw there was a picture of a man on the other side and I realized that once I put the man together the whole world would come together."

And so it is in The Big Picture that each and every neighborhood and community within our experience becomes part of that interconnected and interdependent world in a nutshell.

Quotations About Maps, Puzzles, Thought, Creativity, and Objectivity

"Every valuable creative idea must always be logical in hindsight. If it were not, we would never be able to see its value." Edward de Bono

"Analysis is simplifying, breaking down things into parts, picking out strands and elements. Analysis is comparing unknown things with things that are known. Analysis also involves picking out relationships and putting them back together as a whole." Edward de Bono

"The vertical thinker says: 'I know what I am looking for.' The lateral thinker says: 'I am looking but I won't know what I am looking for until I have found it.'" Edward de Bono
"The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn." Alvin Toffler

You've got to think about big things while you're doing small things, so that all the small things go in the right direction." Alvin Toffler

"It is better to err on the side of daring than the side of caution." Alvin Toffler

"A weak mind is like a microscope, which magnifies trifling things but cannot receive great ones." G.K. Chesterton

"Man can learn nothing unless he proceeds from the known to the unknown." Claude Bernard

"The first step toward success is taken when you refuse to be a captive of the environment in which you first find yourself." Mark Caine

"New opinions are always suspected, and usually opposed, without any other reason but because they are not common." John Locke

"Discovery consists in seeing what everyone else has seen and thinking what no one else has thought." Albert Szent-Gyorgi

"People are always blaming their circumstances for what they are. I don't believe in circumstances. The people who get on in the world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and if they can't find them, make them." George Bernard Shaw