“The Little Red Hen” is one of my favorite children’s books of all time. The version I read to my kids and many childen in classrooms I have visited was adapted by Donna R. Parnell and illustrated by Deborah Colvin Borgo. Most folks remember the story about the little red hen who found some wheat and wanted to make some bread. In summary, in order to make the bread, she needed to plant the wheat, cut the wheat, and deliver the wheat to the miller for it to be ground. After the wheat was ground, she received a bag of flour which had to be baked into a loaf of bread. Along the bread making journey, she solicited the help of the cat, the dog, and the pig. Neither of them wanted to help with the labor, but when the loaf was warm and fragrant, they all wanted to help her eat the bread.
Based on this story, I gave life to “the little red hen” complex which refers to all who stand or sit around satisfied watching other folks work to perform all of the tasks necessary to reach the desired end. The folks with “the little red hen” complex like to receive all the benefits with none of the work. This refers to the person who wants to reap and not sow. My kids know what I’m talking about when I say, “You got ‘the little red hen’ complex.” I use this phrase when I have to cook dinner and nobody wants to help, but they all are asking, “What’s for dinner?” or “When is dinner gonna be ready?” I feel like my little bird friend when I spend hours shopping for groceries and I have to peel folks away from whatever they are doing to get the groceries out of the car and put away properly in the kitchen.
This story is timeless and the illustrations in the book are bright and full of detail. When
I read it aloud to kids, their responses are always positive and their faces are painted with smiles. I love to teach through tales. Using the morals of these innocent, child-friendly stories gives me a way to remind my kids and others of their responsibility to sew good seeds and put in the work tending their crop so that they can really be satisfied with the goodies they produce.