The Two Roads
The Storm prince continues down the road, taking note of its design. Blue and yellow bricks bounce from left to right, and he follows a single line back and forth as he walks. Occasionally he jumps from blue to yellow, then back to blue. He eventually comes to the end of the road, an abrupt and disappointing transition to hard dirt. Only, this isn't the end, as the Storm Prince looks up to see another road a short distance away. This one appears to have been laid indiscriminately, having no discernible pattern.
He hears a man and woman debating something on the side of the road. They both gesture wildly at the bricks that surround them. The Storm Prince approaches the duo.
"Excuse me, are you the ones who built this road? I must say, I've grown quite fond of it."
The two stop their arguing for a moment to acknowledge the Storm Prince.
"Which direction did you come from young man?" asks the woman.
"Thataway," The Storm Prince points towards what he assumes is West, it being a cloudy afternoon.
"Ha!" the man exclaims, pointing triumphantly at the woman. "Zig-zags, you see. People LOVE meandering!"
"But that isn't to say I don't like the other road. It's fun and chaotic."
"Ha-a!" the woman shoots back at the man. "No, hodgepodge! People love RANDOMNESS!
The Storm Prince realizes he has been made an unwitting judge in their masonry debate, the man laying claim to maybe-west and the woman to possibly-east.
Maybe-West says, "Many people use this route, and I wanted to establish a road here."
"As it happens, I had a similar idea, only I was there when it struck me." Possibly-East points in her respective direction.
"This one wants me to pull up all the bricks I laid, so she can build her road!" says the man. "But we all know my road is better, and I refuse to undo all of my hard work."
"My road is a piece of art," the woman says back, "and removing it would be nothing short of criminal."
The Storm Prince regards both sides, weighing their merits.
"It is my personal opinion that neither road should be removed. They are both beautiful in their own ways, and it would be a shame to lose either one."
"Well we can't very well leave it as it is," says Maybe-West
"Perhaps not," says the Prince, "but it seems you have ample space here to reconcile your roads and come to an agreement. Find a way to merge them so that neither of you have to let your work go to waste."
The two bricklayers ponder his suggestion for a moment.
"Yes, well it would mean that I'd save myself some materials for other projects," says Possibly-East.
"I still like my zig-zags, but I have to admit, I do like the colors that you have."
The two load bricks into wheelbarrows, discussing ideas for creating a seamless transition between their roads. Based on their talks, negotiations and building will take some time. Knowing that he will one day return to this stretch of road to see the final product, The Storm Prince bids the two farewell, and continues on his journey.
Materials: This image. Assorted markers, crayons, or colored pencils.
This activity requires two people. Download and print the above image. You may have to do some print formatting, removing margins and adjusting ratios.
The road is divided into three sections. Place the image on a flat surface and have both participants sit on either side of the page, road leading from one to the other. Place a large item in the middle to act as a divider a la Battleship. A cereal box would do nicely.
Color in your respective side as you see fit, using any colors or patterns you want. Do not pick at the other's path. If possible, make sure both sides have the same colors so that neither side knows which specific colors are being used opposite them (asking for the re crayon implies red crayon use).
Once done, pull up the cereal box. Your task is to come to an agreement on how to merge the two roads in the middle. Both sides must agree before taking action.
What is my negotiation style? Do I typically give more, take more, or aim for a perfect middle ground?
How did I negotiate during this activity? Did I start by giving, taking, or did I find a middle ground immediately?
Did I agree with all of my partners ideas, or where there details of our solution that I didn't like?
How can you use this reflection in your life? How can you change your negotiation style towards a middle ground?
Negotiations are rarely as simple as "I like your zig-zags." We all know this. This story doesn't offer a grand epiphany. The goal is to get you to reflect upon your collaboration style and how you reconcile different ideas. Are you passive, or aggressive? Do you like to start, or hear the other person first?
Relationships, whether family, friends, romantic, or otherwise, require give and take. Knowing how you debate and ultimately make agreements can help you further develop those relationships.
Please contact me if you have done the road activity. Was the length of the road appropriate? The space between the two sections? Please send final results as well as any feedback regarding the activity.
Image (Placeholder): design.tutsplus.com
Theme (Placeholder): March in the Clouds - Double Fine Productions
How you can contribute:
If you are...
...an editor, my writing could use some tweaking.
...a web developer, the site could use some sprucing up.
...a musician/composer, I need a theme.
...a voice actor, I need narration.
...a 3D modeler, I need...a 3D model.
...an artist, I need an illustration.
...an animator, I need a video.
...an eccentric (m/b)illionaire, I could use some money to fund the above.
Contact me if you fit any of these descriptions.