With a few seconds the boy replied confidently, “Four!”
The dismayed teacher was expecting an effortless correct answer (three).
She was disappointed. “May be the child did not listen properly,” she thought.
She repeated, “Please listen carefully. It is very simple. You will be able to do it right if you listen carefully. If I give you one apple and one apple and one apple, how many apples will you have?”
The boy 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 his teacher happy.
This time hesitatingly he replied, “Four...”
The disappointment stayed on teacher’s face.
She remembered that the boy loves strawberries.
She thought may be he doesn’t like apples and that is making him lose focus.
This time with exaggerated excitement and twinkling eyes she asked ...
“If I give you one strawberry, and one strawberry, and one strawberry, then how many will you have?”
Seeing the teacher happy, the young boy 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, the young boy 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 the answer was “Four!”
The teacher was aghast.
“How.... tell me, How?” she demanded in a little stern and irritated voice.
In a voice that was low and hesitating young boy replied, “Because I already have one apple in my bag.”
Lessons to Learn: When someone gives you an answer that is different from what you are expecting, it is not necessarily they are wrong.
There may be an angle that we may not have understood at all.
We need to learn to appreciate and understand different perspectives.
Quite often, we try and impose our perspectives on others and then wonder what went wrong.
The next time someone gives you a different perspective than yours, sit down and gently ask: "Can you please help me understand?"