Influencing Responsibly

An Ariticle By Vijay Batra

There is a beautiful anecdote which illustrates very well, how as a teacher or a parent one needs to go about correcting the behavior of a student or one’s child.

The anecdote goes something like this:

One day a rich man’s son, a student of class five, came to attend classes wearing an expensive and an attractive watch. He was attracting attention from other students as he was showing off his watch.

During a class period, he had removed the watch and placed it on his desk. In between the class he took permission from the teacher and went to the toilet. In his absence one student succumbed to the temptation and on looking around, he saw that other students and the teacher were distracted, he picked up the watch and put it in his pocket.

Soon the child to whom the watch belonged, entered the room and raised an alarm when he found his watch missing.

The teacher asked all the students to return to their chairs and sit quietly.

The teacher fell silent, turned his back towards the students, looking at the black board.

The student who had picked up the watch and put it in his pocket, was nervous, as he felt that the teacher will check each students pocket, and he will be caught, punished and be branded to be a thief for the rest of his life.

After some time, the teacher stood up and turned around and asked each student, including the student whose watch was taken, to stand in a single row, standing shoulder to shoulder, facing the wall with their eyes closed.

The students complied, and the teacher started to check the pockets of the students, starting from the left of the row. He was checking the pockets of each student and moving from left to right one by one. Soon the student who had picked up the watch and placed it in his pocket could feel the presence of the teacher. He became nervous for he was expecting the teacher to find the watch and then punish and humiliate him in front of the other students.

To the surprise of the student, the teacher checked his pockets, removed the watch, said nothing and moved on to the next student and then to the student on to the right, till he checked the pockets of all the students, including the student whose watch was taken.

After the checking of all the students was complete, the teacher asked the students to open their eyes and return to their seats.

Then he handed over the watch to the student to whom it belonged and asked him to be careful and not to remove it and leave it behind, as it will tempt others.

Then he announced to the rest of the class, that let us learn, each one of us, to control ourselves whenever we are tempted. He explained why he had asked every student to close their eyes, as it was to prevent the harassment of the student who had been tempted. He also announced that while checking, the he too had closed his eyes, to avoid poisoning his mind towards the student who had taken the watch.

All the students learnt a valuable lesson, how to handle delicate situations.

The student who had committed the mistake, vowed not to repeat it.

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