Home Concepts Managing Stress & Challenges Oiling the Tin Man’s Armor and Healing His Heart IV: Finding Support and Guidance

Oiling the Tin Man’s Armor and Healing His Heart IV: Finding Support and Guidance

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It is interesting to note that our three characters assume posts of leadership in Oz (as the Wizard flies off in his balloon).  Like Gulliver’s Travels and many other “children’s books”, the Wizard of Oz books offered critical comments regarding leadership in American during this turbulent time—the Depression years of the 1930s. Perhaps, leadership is only successfully engaged when the primary needs of a leader have been realized – and when these needs reside outside the domains of power and status. A desire to gain wisdom (scarecrow), compassion (tin man) or courage (lion) are admirable and fully aligned with successful, sustained leadership on behalf of human welfare.

Beyond the matter of leadership, we find insights regarding the healing properties of interpersonal relationships in the Frank Baum based movie about the land of Oz. In my previous three essays (Bergquist, 2023a, 2023b and 2023c) I focused on the Tin Man and ways in which not only his armor was oiled but also his heart was healed. In this final essay I wish to turn to support that the Tin Man received from his colleagues. Like Dorothy and the other characters, the Tin Man found his heart as it beat in response to the remarkable care and commitment found in his relationships with Dorothy, the Scarecrow, Cowardly Lion—and even Toto. Scarecrow offered thoughtful analyses under conditions of stress and crisis. The Cowardly Lion offered resolve and action (if reluctantly) in meeting the threat of winged monkeys and an evil Witch. The Tin Man received unconditional love and support From Dorothy and Toto. This was pretty much everything that the Tin Man needed (other than his own internal strength and resources).

Let’s now take our analysis out of Oz and direct it to the support and guidance to be found in interpersonal relationships and in our own head and heart—support and guidance that are required in our “real” life. As in the case of the Wizard of Oz, we are likely to find some insightful resemblance between the Tin Man’s “support group” and the supporting relationship that we require in meeting the “real” challenges of mid-21st Century life and work.  Reality and fantasy often find a way of complementing one another.

I specifically focus on ways we can manage the challenges and accompanying stress of contemporary times—while fulfilling our own needs and life purposes (healing our heart). All of this must take place in a world that is becoming increasingly volatile, uncertain, complex, ambiguous, turbulent, and contradictory (VUCA-Plus). I begin, therefore, by offering a brief description of challenges being faced and offer an inventory that can help one assess the magnitude and intensity of these challenges. There may not be a wicked witch trying to mess with us; however, VUCA-Plus conditions can be very witch-like and threatening.

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