The Two Sons


22 November 2018


Once upon a time there was a King who was happily married to a loving and caring wife who was the Queen of course.  The King worked with the men of the Kingdom, and the Queen involved herself generally with the women. They both worked towards the well being of the Kingdom.  The King and the queen had two sons who grew up, as children do, to be quite different from each other.  Both sons become of age and were given sections of the Kingdom to manage on their own to prove their worth to the Kingdom.

The first son, Mathew, was given the farms to manage, and the second son, James, was given the manufacturing facilities to look after and improve.

The manufacturing setup was the bottling and preserving of foodstuffs made on the farms as well as looking after the implements and machines.  James went about building his team in a very protective way.  He wanted to prove to the King and the Queen how competent he was and did not want them to see any errors at all.  He was sold on beating his brother Mathew to the throne and believed that with his people on his side, he could achieve this.  As a consequence, James went about assisting his people wherever he could.  He appealed to them to do the right things and sometimes, when they were tough asks, laid down strict rules that he would say came from the King’s instructions.  When the King did his rounds and attended meetings with James and his staff, James stayed very quiet and only said things that supported what the King wanted while in front of the King.  When the King left to visit Mathew, James would tell his people that he was in charge and would rule in future and so they needed to do what he wanted.  He convinced them that what he wanted was tried and tested and more modern than the way the King was going about things.  Slowly but surely the King sensed that he was not really welcome in the manufacturing division of the Kingdom.  He started to realise that James was building a power base within the Kingdom in order to outdo his older brother Mathew.  James was supporting anything that gave him power over his people that would impact on his image in the eyes of the King.  On a daily basis there would be problems with quality and he would blame this on the product that came from Mathew’s division.  He tried to save costs by allowing his people to repair things so that they would just keep working for a short time.  He visited outside parties, even when things were not going well at the Kingdom, in order to promote his image as one who is wise and effective.  He generated an image of power and respect from his people by bullying suppliers and other outside parties.  As a result, his people saw him as strong and decisive. He was saving the Kingdom money in this way.


His brother Mathew on the other hand was quite different.  Mathew respected the King’s experience and asked for advice while not giving up on his own training and experience.  Mathew realised that his people were essential to his success but that this hinged on their skill, experience and conscious approach to everything.  Mathew worked slower, planned well, but invested deeply in giving his people the time that they needed with him in order to develop more skills, more experience and understand why things had to be done in a certain way.  Mathew wanted things understood.  He tired himself staying close to his people but saying yes to the right things for the Kingdom and no to the wrong things.  He had some real problems with his own confidence in this process as his people were hearing about how nice his brother James was to his people.  Mathew was not rude or arrogant, but a Yes was a Yes and a No a No.  Mathew could not bend in this as he wanted the right things done for the Kingdom as a whole.  Over time, the farms became producers of high yield and high quality products.  Mathew’s team participated in meetings, were not afraid to give their input, developed confidence in what they did and became really knowledgeable farmers in a broad sense.  When the King did his rounds at the farms and met the people, he could sense a confident, self-knowledge was appearing in Mathew’s people.  He was welcomed as Mathew’s people knew that Mathew and his father, the King worked well together and complimented each other.  They were really working for the welfare of the Kingdom in the future and not in a power struggle against a brother.


The King dearly loved both his sons. He had tried to warn James about the failing infrastructure being a reflection of his not being focused on the Kingdom but on a personal ambition.  The King could not convince James.  In the end, he had to choose what was right for the Kingdom.  It got to the point where James’ staff were patently anti the King and possibly even Mathew and this would be a real long term problem for the Kingdom; in fact the King was already concerned about the long term.  He convened several meetings with the Elders of the Kingdom.  This was an earnest and serious attempt by the Kingdom as a whole to make the right call about the future.  Mathew became King.

  1. It helps give one reassurance that it’s not necessary for one’s activities to be acclaimed, as long as one is just doing one’s best in all areas of one’s endeavours, no matter how unknown, or far away from the hub of things!


    Best wishes,

  2. Dear Wilfried, this particular story was not aimed at the threefold concept but simply a story. I agree that a Threefold story, with the Threefold Social Order in mind, would look different. To get an idea on this, my article on Threefold management meetings on this website is appropriate. Thank you for responding and using the new possibilities that have been enabled on this website. Kind regards, David.

  3. Interesting. The stories that are handed down to us seem to always speak of 3 sons, and usually only one gets it right. While those stories might appear to open the space for more than right or wrong, dualistic thinking, in reality it often turns out that two are similarly foolish or wrong, and only one, the youngest, gets it right. So not much of a threefold exploration either, more like ‘third time lucky’. Still, I wonder what you would have presented in this story if there had been 3 sons. Three ways to choose from, rather than a dualism?

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