Drawing Around Our Arrows?

October 30, 2007

Do you ever come across an illustration that is so good, you feel you just need to use it. Don’t. At least, not till you find the appropriate text. The following illustration by Michael Ramsden shows us the folly of what we are otherwise doing:

(Photo courtesy of Artist Wannabe, creative commons license)

“A young boy received a bow and arrow as a present from his father, and he immediately went outside to shoot it. A little while later his father went outside and saw that the boy had shot his arrows at several targets that had been drawn on the side of a fence. To his amazement each arrow had hit the bull’s eye.

The father was impressed and said to his son, ‘ I didn’t realise you were such a good shot.’ ‘Oh, it was easy,’ his son replied. ‘I shot the arrows first, and then drew the targets around them.’

When we use illustrations simply because they are good illustrations, we are drawing targets around our arrows. Right at the beginning of planning a talk we need to decide what the point, the target, is. Then we enhance the talk with seasoning in order to drive home the point effectively, keeping in mind that it takes different kinds of arrows to hit different kinds of targets.”

(Michael Ramsden, in Preach the Word, ed. Greg Haslam, p 498)

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