First Do, Then Teach

Sweets in La Boqueria market, Barcelona, Spain

Image via Wikipedia

A troubled mother one day came to Gandhi along with her daughter and explained to him that her daughter was in the habit of eating more sweet food than was good for her. Please, she asked, could Gandhi speak to the girl and persuade her to give up the harmful habit?

Gandhi sat for a while in silence and then said, “Bring your daughter back in three weeks’ time, and then I shall speak to her.”

The mother went away and did as she was told, and then came back after three weeks.

This time Gandhi quietly took the girl aside and in a few simple words pointed out the harmful effects of too much sweet food. He urged her to abandon the habit.

Thanking Gandhi for the good advice, the mother said to him in a puzzled voice, “I would like to know, Gandhi-ji, why you did not say these words to my daughter three weeks ago.”

“Well,” replied Gandhi, “three weeks ago I myself was addicted to eating sweet foods.”

— Donald Nichol


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