This is a story about a farmer and his four sons.
Once upon a time, there was a farmer in a small village of India. He had huge lands on which he used to cultivate rice and wheat. He had four sons who always used to keep fighting with one another on various petty issues. He used to get sad and depressed seeing his sons arguing all the time with each other. Overall, it was not a happy, united family and the farmer was not able to make his sons realize the importance of togetherness in a family.
He was around 75 years old and the thought of his sons fighting with each other always used to disturb him. One day, the farmer was very sick and with each passing day, his health started deteriorating. The sons called the local doctor near their village to check their father and give him medicines. The doctor made it very clear that maybe, these were the last few days of the farmer’s life and that he wouldn’t be able to survive for a long time. Once the farmer got to know this, he decided to make the property papers in order to divide all his property and money between his four sons. But he was very confused about the ratio in which his property should be divided. He didn’t know if he should divide all his possessions equally amongst his four sons or he should give claim of his property in accordance with the age of his sons.
The sad part was that even when the farmer was on death bed, the four sons kept fighting with each other on the issue of division of the property. The farmer made a resolution that before dying, he would sort out all the issues between the four brothers, so that after his death, they don’t fight with each other anymore. He decided to teach them a lesson by asking them to do a small activity. He asked each of his son to bring a small, thin wood stick and then asked each one of them to break their wood stick. Everyone was successful in doing what their father told them to do. He again asked each of his four sons to bring a small, thin wood stick but this time, he asked them to tie together all these four wood sticks in and make a bundle of them. Once his sons were finished following his instructions, he then asked them to break this bundle of wood sticks. This time none of his son was able to break the bundle. Seeing their sad faces, he asked all of them to come and sit beside him. He told them that his four sons were like four wood sticks. If they keep on fighting like this, anyone might very easily break the bond of the family. But if the four of them didn’t argue or fight with each other over small issues and instead try to solve them by talking patiently with each other, their family would get strengthened and no outsider would be able to break their bond.
Our families are also like small, thin wood sticks. If we keep fighting or judging each other over several issues, we won’t be able to maintain a healthy, peaceful living. But, if we sort out our issues and problems by talking openly and calmly with each other, we would live a happy and healthier life and no one would be able to break our bond in our worst situations.
So, what did we learn from this story? We learnt that “unity is strength”. This story makes us realize that we can conquer the greatest challenges in our lives if we have a healthy, strong, united family to guard us all the time and help us whenever we need them. (Harnoor Kaur, India, 2015)