Slaying the Lizard of Oz

Public domain image, royalty free stock photo from www.public-domain-image.com When my daughter was in preschool, she discovered The Wizard of Oz, and even though she absolutely loved the story, she just couldn’t get the title quite right. She called the classic story “The Lizard of Oz.”

Initially, my  husband and I tried to correct her, but nothing worked.

My son, on other hand, never even attempted to point out that a lizard is very different from a wizard. He simply chose to make fun of his sister, and since she didn’t understand his ridicule, she wasn’t really bothered.

Trying to teach my daughter the difference seemed futile. Instead, we decided that allowing her to happily promote the concept of a giant lizard ruling over the Land of Oz  made our lives more peaceful.

At least, it was more peaceful until that day she came home dismayed that her parents made her look foolish by allowing her to publicly talk about “The Lizard of Oz.”

I can’t tell this story without thinking of all the adults who also believe in the Lizard of Oz.

These are people who make up their minds about something and only listen to those who validate their beliefs: the politicians who believe that they speak for “all Americans” or the old white guys with money who only listen to other old white guys with money (or to those who pander to them). They, like the Scarecrow in the Wizard of Oz, could easily gain wisdom. All they’d have to do is listen to people who better understand the real issues.

These are the people who only make decisions based on their own paradigm. They ignore that the world is changing, which means their way of doing things should change too. Instead, they, like the Tin Man, appear heartless because of their refusal to adapt with little regard for others.

These are the people who are self-absorbed. Like the Wicked Witch of the East, they believe those seeking help are the problem, and they care more about feeding their own egos than feeding the hungry.cowardly-lion

But no matter how hurtful or destructive these people are, they get away with their behavior because there are even more of us who enable it. We act like the Cowardly Lion, who is afraid of everything. We fear calling out those who are wrong. We fear making ourselves look bad. We fear causing too many problems. We fear repercussions. And we fear failure.

But being the Cowardly Lion is outside of my comfort zone. I’m not the type to sit back because trying to change misperceptions and outright mistakes is too difficult.

I’m off to slay the lizard, the problematic Lizard of Oz.

About Trina Bartlett

I live in the Eastern Panhandle of WV, with one dog, two cats, a daughter and son at West Virginia University and a husband who works strange hours. When I'm not working as a director at a nonprofit social service organization or being a mom, I can generally be found riding my bike, walking my dog and stirring things up.

Posted on March 16, 2013, in Family, My life and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. Valerie Strege

    You will never cop out like a cowardly lion! Keep taking a stand, and things can improve in the world we inhabit. I must be your soul-sister, always go to battle for what I believe is right, though it HAS and proobably WILL continue to get me in trouble!

  2. So hard to know, sometimes. The important issues often creep in rather than barging in through the door. Those slithering issues are often among us and nearing acceptance before we see them for what they are. Those who take stands are often, then, seen as nuts. That, I think is the hardest part–convincing your peers that issues ARE important and that forces HAVE moved the line and that we need to move it back.

  3. Wonderful analogy! I know so many people, who like the Scarecrow, are just waitin’ on the wizard for that brain. Taking a stand is a difficult choice but a worthwhile one. I applaud your willingness to slay the lizard!

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