The Parable of Timmy and the Magician

By Josh Orendi

I recently did a program and when I showed up the IFC VP said his chapter guys didn't come because they saw Phired Up last year. 

I asked him how many guys he had. He put his head down and said, “Less than 1/2 of what we should have.” 

After telling him this parable, I said, “So they learned what to do and did nothing with the information.” 

A light bulb went off for him and he said, “To know and not to do is not to know … I like that … I'm going to make that the focus of our next meeting.” 

The magician stood on stage toward the end of a spectacular performance. His audience looked on intensely yearning for more. The magician prepared for his grand finale by tossing his cape over his shoulder, turning his top hat over in his hand, and waving his wand over the hat.

Just then, a young man seated in the second row yelled out, “Awe. I've seen this one before! I know how you do that trick.”

The magician paused and looked at the boy. “What is your name?” he asked.

“Timmy,” the boy replied.

“Timmy, would you join me on stage?”

The crowd applauded as Timmy walked to the stage. That magician shook Timmy's hand then took off his hat and placed it on the boys head. The magician removed his magic cape and draped it over Timmy's shoulders. He picked up the wand, placed it in Timmy's hand then looked at the audience and said, “My final trick will be performed by Timmy the Magnificent!”

Timmy watched the magician give him a wink then walk casually behind the curtain. Standing alone but dressed for the part, he turned to the audience and felt a lump in his throat. Young Timmy's eyes began to swell as he stared into the spot lights and butterflies raced through his belly. He had seen the trick many times, but stood paralyzed in the moment. The wand slipped from his limp, wet palm and rolled across the stage. Those seconds felt like hours, and the boy ran from the stage in embarrassment with his long black cape chasing closely behind.

Moral of the Story: 
The magic has nothing to do with knowing the trick. Anyone can read the book or look up the secrets online. The magic is being able to perform the trick. Knowing what to do is not performance.

If all recruitment took was knowing what to do, you’d already have a 250 member chapter with a 3.5 GPA and the tightest brotherhood/sisterhood in the country. But you don't. Recruitment – like magic – is an art form. Your grand finale may look like a simple trick, but the reason it is rarely duplicated is because behind that single trick was a deep personal commitment and hundreds of failures as you became the performance.

If a member suggests that he doesn't need recruitment help or that he already knows how to do recruitment. Remind him of this famous proverb: “To know and not to do is not to know.”