There are many versions to this tale. However, here is a summary of the one I prefer, whose author, unfortunately, is not known. Three hungry soldiers came upon a small village, but the villagers had nothing to offer them since they had a very poor harvest that year and didn’t want to share what little they did have. So, the soldiers decide to share the secret of how to make stone soup. The villagers were curious so they boiled a pot of water and the soldiers dropped three small stones inside of it. One soldier mentioned how the soup would taste better if it had some salt, and one of the villagers obliged. This went on with a list of different ingredients varying from meats to vegetables, to the point that each villager ended up contributing something from their own personal stash. They ended the night with a big feast of soup made from everyone. The villagers were so appreciative of the soldiers sharing the secret recipe of stone soup, when one of the soldiers said, “There is no secret, but this is certain: it is only by sharing that we may make a feast”.
This, to me, is everything that groups are made of. The facilitator provides the pot by the space the group meets in, and the water and stones through some suggestions and topics, but the members provide everything else. It’s a hard concept to grasp when you feel that you’re joining a group to see what you can get out of it and how it might help you, but you’re actually contributing in a great way as well. And even though you might feel so worn out that you don’t think you could possibly have anything to offer, everyone always does. Some contribute by taking on certain roles in the group, others, by offering feedback or a listening ear, or even in wmetaays so subtle that no one realizes at first. As a group facilitator I am always excited at the beginning of a group to see the way things will turn out because I never truly know what type of soup is being made until I see what ingredients others are bringing to the table, but I know each member always has something to offer, even when they don’t realize it themselves.
If you are considering joining a group, but feel that you wouldn’t have anything to offer, call STA at (201) 488-6678, so that we can help you find the ingredients hiding in your secret stash.