The phrase ‘on the hook’ has always meant ‘being responsible for something or obliged to do something’ for me. Being ‘off the hook’ meant I was freed from an obligation. There is a sense of ‘entrapment’ in it.
However, what if it was something we ‘get to do’? What if we willing ‘put ourselves on the hook? Or what if it meant something completely different?
In Turkey, there is an ancient tradition called Askıda Ekmek. It works like this: you go to a baker, buy a loaf of bread and pay for two. On paying for the bread, you say ‘And one askida ekmek’. Your contribution is bagged and hung on a hook together with others. When people come in throughout the day and ask, “Is there bread on the hook?”, they can take a loaf for free.
It’s completely anonymous, no plaques for donors or paperwork for recipients. It’s a generous gesture. And it is part of the flow of everyday life. And just maybe there is something powerful and important about it being local. It builds community. Not in a flashy, fanfare type of way. More subtle, generous, quiet, everyday type of way.
Some days I wonder what this would look like between organisations. Maybe we could put policies or our guidance and training processes ‘on the hook’. Or all training events, conferences, and so on could have a ‘hook’ where we pay for another one. Maybe other things.
Perhaps we need a reminder that we’re in this together. And perhaps we need this more than ever right now.
What can you put ‘on the hook’?
Photo by Roman Kraft