From the Pastors Desk
Oct14WedOctober 14, 2020
As I was completing my last review “the Post Quarantine Church” by Thom Rainer, a book came to mind that I feel should be the follow-up. It is one of the best books that I have read dealing with attitudes toward change. My prayer is that those who have read it before will reread it and those who have not will take the one hour required to read this brief parable. The Story of Who Moved My Cheese? was created by Dr. Spencer Johnson to help him deal with difficult change in his life. Friends noticed how much better life had become for him and asked why; he revealed his “Cheese” story.
Two decades after the story was created, the book was published. Translated in many foreign languages, it sold over 22 million copies in the next 6 years. Countless have shared that its’ impact was profound and improved their careers, businesses, health and marriages. The Cheese story has found its way into homes, companies, schools, churches, the military and sports teams and I strongly believe it has a powerful message during this pandemic. Critics cannot understand why so many found it so valuable for it is so simple a child could understand it and it insults their intelligence, as it is obviously common sense. Johnson states “It is not what is in The Story of Who Moved My Cheese? but how you interpret and apply it in your own situation that gives it value.”
Who Moved My Cheese is a story about change that takes place in a Maze where four amusing characters look for “Cheese”- cheese being a metaphor for what we want to have in life for example a job, a relationship, money, freedom, health, spiritual peace etc. We know that change is constant, stressful and can often nurture negative energy. The book is divided into three sections. In the first, A Gathering, former classmates talk at a class reunion about trying to deal with changes happening in their lives. The second section is The Story of Who Moved My Cheese? which is the core of the book. Two mice, Sniff and Scurry, do better when they are faced with change because they keep things simple, while the two Littlepeople, Hem and Haw, whose complex brains and human emotions complicate things. It is not that the mice are smarter of course but as you watch what the four characters choose to do, you realize both the mice and the Littlepeople represent parts of ourselves- the simple and the complex. It becomes an advantage to do the simple things that work in times of change. In the third section, A Discussion people share what the story meant to them and how they are going to use it in their in their lives. “Everyone knows that not all change is good or even necessary. But in a world that is constantly changing, it is to our advantage to learn how to adapt and enjoy something better.” Ken Blanchard
Even though I have read this book many times and used it in teaching my students, I still become intrigued as to how Sniff & Scurry every morning dressed in their running gear and headed over to Cheese Station C. They daily read the landscape, accessed the amount of cheese and then when things changed…they quickly threw on their running shoes (that hung around their necks so they could get to them quickly) and off they went to search for more cheese in a new section of the Maze completely unfamiliar to them.
Hem and Haw, on the other hand in the beginning raced to arrive at the first Cheese Station C each morning and would then settle in and make themselves at home. They hung up their jogging suits, put away their running shoes and put on their slippers. They were becoming very comfortable. They had found the Cheese and knew there was enough Cheese to last them forever. The story evolves from those initial choices in fascinating and revealing ways.
If you choose to read this little book, I would welcome any emails with your comments as to how it impacted your perception of change in your life.