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Gandhi and sugar – the wisest story about teaching

Mahatma Gandhi was one of the wisest and most humane spiritual leaders of the 20th century. After he started to enjoy the respect of everybody, many people went to him to ask advice on various life issues.

One day Gandhi received a visit from a woman and her son. The little boy preferred sugary foods and stuffed himself with sweets, and his mother was afraid that his health will be ruined soon. No matter how many times she tried to convince her son otherwise, he continued to gorge on sugary foods whenever he had a chance.

The woman visited Gandhi with her son and told him about her problem. ’Please, Mahatma, tell my son not to eat sugary foods, because he will ruin his health.’ Gandhi thought for a moment and then said, ’Come back in two weeks’.

The woman was a bit surprised, but he she did as she was told. She returned after two weeks with her son. Gandhi looked the child into the eye and said, ’Don’t eat sugar. It’s not good for your health.’ The little boy admired Gandhi, so he promised that he would resign to his harmful habit and pay more attention to his health.

The mother was very grateful to Gandhi, but at the same time she was a bit puzzled about why she had to take the trip to him twice. So she told him, ’Thank you very much, Mahatma, for your help. However, could you please tell me why you couldn’t give this advice to my son two weeks ago?’ Gandhi smiled and answered, ’Two weeks ago I had no moral basis to give advice to your son, as I still ate sweets myself.’

Many of us fall into the same trap: we give advice left and right, although we could be authentic only if we followed our own advice. Real teachers show the right way instead of telling about it.