The Parable of the Wise, Old Fireman

It has been my observation that one of the primary ways which Jesus Christ used to mentor his flock involved the use of the parable. Gowler (2002) tells us that, "… A parable is a succinct story, in prose or verse that illustrates a lesson. It differs...

He closed the conversation with the young chief by saying something really simple, but most direct. It is not about you chief. It is all about the people you lead. As he was leaving the room, he turned and told the chief that he was available anytime the young fellow needed a bit of guidance.

This ends the parable of the wise, old fireman. And so too is it with the wise old veteran's in your organization. They usually know a lot more than they let on, but they do not want to butt in. They did their turn at the helm of the ship and want you too to enjoy your time in charge. Thus it is that I leave it to you all to create your understanding of this story.

HARRY R. CARTER, Ph.D., CFO, MIFireE, a Contributing Editor, is a municipal fire protection consultant based in Adelphia, NJ. Dr. Carter retired from the Newark, NJ, Fire Department and is a past chief and active life member of the Adelphia Fire Company. Follow Harry on his "A View From my Front Porch" blog. He recently published Leadership: A View from the Trenches and Living My Dream: Dr. Harry Carter's 2006 FIRE Act Road Trip. You can reach Harry by e-mail at