Tag Archives: Off with their heads

Painting the roses red

Q of H – a real people person

`Would you tell me,’ said Alice, a little timidly, `why you are painting those roses?’

Five and Seven said nothing, but looked at Two. Two began in a low voice, `Why the fact is, you see, Miss, this here ought to have been a RED rose-tree, and we put a white one in by mistake; and if the Queen was to find it out, we should all have our heads cut off, you know. So you see, Miss, we’re doing our best, afore she comes, to–‘ At this moment Five, who had been anxiously looking across the garden, called out `The Queen! The Queen!’ and the three gardeners instantly threw themselves flat upon their faces. There was a sound of many footsteps, and Alice looked round, eager to see the Queen.

Finally, we get to the real star of the book, the Queen of Hearts!  At least that’s what she tells me and I’m inclined to agree with her.  How many of us have known such a queen?  I certainly have.  She went by the title of “director” but I’m fairly certain she saw herself as queen, for her employees were most certainly treated as serfs.

My former fellow employees and me

I picked the scene of the card employees painting the white rose bush red for a reason.  What’s so ironic about this is that when you work under a tyrant, sometimes the least useful thing for the company is the thing you must do to survive.  The bush is still a white rose bush, but it appears red, and that’s enough to keep her staff’s heads on their shoulders, so that’s all they care about.  When you’re trying to avoid fury, the last thing you think about is how well the company is doing.  After all, you’re only one tiny, small peg in the wheel.

This is why the authoritarian style NEVER works.  I don’t care whether you’re a spouse, a parent, a teacher, a preacher, a boss, or a queen.  People will respond to fear – but only enough to keep from getting into trouble.  If you want them to actually help you, help the business, help the family, help the kingdom – you must treat them with respect.  But too many use the authoritarian approach because it’s easier.  As an aside, is it just me, or does the Queen of Hearts remind you a bit of Michelle Bachmann?  Maybe it’s just me.

Anyway, I did manage to finally escape my Queen of Hearts, and now I work for a new kinder, gentler queen.  And I work hard for her, harder than I ever did for the other, because I genuinely want to please her.  If I planted the wrong bush, I wouldn’t cover it up now.  I’d admit I goofed, and I’d plant another.  And more than likely, this queen would pick up a hoe and help me do so.  No more painting the roses red.  And, thank God, no more threats of “Off with their heads!”