MoStory Posted By Dr. MO A teacher asked a boy named Stanley in her grade two math class, “How many apples will you have if I give you one apple and one apple and one apple?
“Within a few seconds the boy replied confidently, “Four!” The dismayed teacher was expecting an effortless correct answer (three).
She was disappointed. “Maybe the child did not listen properly,” she thought.
She repeated the question, “Stanley, listen carefully. If I give you one apple and one apple and one apple, how many apples will you have?” Stanley had seen the disappointment on his teacher’s face. He calculated again on his fingers. But within him he was also searching for the answer that will make the teacher happy.
His search for the answer was not for the correct one, but the one that will make his teacher happy. This time hesitatingly he replied, “Four…” The disappointment stayed on the teacher’s face. She remembered that Stanley liked strawberries. She thought maybe he doesn’t like apples and that is making him loose focus.
This time with an exaggerated excitement and twinkling in her eyes she asked, “If I give you one strawberry and one strawberry and one strawberry, then how many you will have?” Seeing the teacher happy, young Stanley calculated on his fingers again.
There was no pressure on him, but a little on the teacher. She wanted her new approach to succeed.
With a hesitating smile young Stanley replied, “Three?” The teacher now had a victorious smile. Her approach had succeeded. She wanted to congratulate herself.
But one last thing remained. Once again she asked him, “Now if I give you one apple and one apple and one more apple how many will you have?” Promptly Stanley answered, “Four!”
The teacher was aghast. “How Stanley, how can your answer be four again?” she asked in a frustrated and irritated voice.
In a voice that was low and hesitating the young boy replied, “Because I already have one apple in my bag.”
Lesson Learned From This Story: When you ask a question and someone gives you an answer that is different from what you expect don’t automatically think they are wrong. Sometimes when you think that the other person has not properly understood something, it may that there is something that you have not understood. When we learn to listen with an open mind and understanding, not with an absolute predetermined notion that we know the right answer, we develop the habit of flexibility that will help us in many aspects of our lives.