Wednesday, May 8, 2013

DO NOT TELL YOUR CHILDREN THIS STORY


DO NOT TELL YOUR CHILDREN THIS STORY

Once upon a time, long long ago, there was a saying:

HONESTY IS THE BEST POLICY

In those days of the distant past, people believed in idealistic things like Ethics and followed Utopian Codes of Conduct like:

DO NOT LIE

DO NOT CHEAT

DO NOT STEAL


Young children were taught moral values.

In order to educate them on the ethical and moral aspects of life, children were told fables, parables, inspirational tales and teaching stories. 

However, all these things are irrelevant in todays modern times.

In fact, if you teach such outmoded ethical concepts like speaking the truth and being honest to your children, they will become unfit to live in the modern world. 

As is evident from practical observation, in order to succeed in todays modern times you must lie, you must cheat and you must steal and honesty is certainly not the best policy. 

However, for old times sake, here is a story told to us when we were kids, which emphasized obsolete Utopian moral values and imparted the archaic saying that honesty is the best policy.

Do read it, but please do not tell this story to your children, lest they begin to mistakenly think that honesty is good and will help them succeed in life

I suggest that you suitably modify the story to bring it in sync with present day ethics and moral values.


THE SEED OF INTEGRITY
A Teaching Story 
By
VIKRAM KARVE


Once upon a time there was a childless King who wanted to choose a worthy successor to his throne after he passed away. 

He called all the young children in his kingdom to his palace one day and said: “I feel it is time for me to choose the next King. I have decided to choose one of you as my successor, as my Crown Prince, and groom you to be the King after I am gone.”

The amazed children listened spellbound as the King spoke: “I am going to give each one of you a seed today. Yes, I will give you all just one seed, but it is a very special seed. I want you all to go home, plant the seed, water it, nurture it, and come back here to me exactly one year from today with the plant you have grown from this one seed. I will then judge the plants that you bring to me and whoever grows the best plant will be the Crown Prince, the next King after me.” 

There was one small shy boy who was there that day and he, like the others, received a seed from the King. 

He went home and excitedly told his mother the whole story. 

She helped him get a pot and some planting soil, and he planted the seed and watered it regularly and nurtured it carefully.

Twice every day, in the morning and in the evening, the small shy boy would water the seed lovingly and watch to see if it had germinated and grown. 

After a few days, some of the other children began to talk about their seeds and the lovely plants that were beginning to grow.

But the small shy boy kept going home and checking his seed. 

He was disappointed that nothing was growing from his seed.

Days passed, then weeks, and months, but still there was no sign of a plant growing from the small shy boy’s seed. 

But the small boy still kept lovingly watering his seed regularly hoping that it would germinate.

By now the others were talking about their wonderful healthy plants.

But small shy boy did not have a plant.

He felt like a failure, but he kept persevering and nurturing his seed with love and dedication in the optimistic hope that his seed would someday sprout a plant.  

Six months went by and there was still no sign of a plant in the small shy boy’s pot. 

Everyone else had exquisite tall plants.

But the small shy boy had nothing. 

Inwardly he wondered why his seed was not germinating and feared that maybe he had not watered it properly and so maybe he had killed his seed.

But the small shy boy did not say anything to his friends.

He kept on tenderly watering and nurturing his seed with dogged determination and doting devotion in the fond hope that his seed would grow and blossom into a beautiful plant. 

Finally, one year passed, and all the children of the kingdom brought their plants to the King for inspection. 

The small shy boy was scared and did not want to take his desolate plant-less pot with just the soil and seed to the King.

But his mother encouraged him to go and told him to take his pot with him and show it to the King. 

She told the small shy boy to be honest about everything and speak the truth. 

The small shy boy felt fearful and nervous, but he listened to his mother and took his barren pot to the King. 

When the small shy boy arrived at the King’s Palace, he was astonished to see the variety of beautiful and exotic plants grown by all the other children. 

Totally crestfallen, the small shy boy put his desolate pot on the floor.

Everyone jeered in derision and mocked him and made fun of the small shy boy and his desolate pot. 

A few children felt pity for him and tried to console the small shy boy. 

Suddenly the King arrived, looked around the hall appraising the plants and showered words of praise to the gathered children: “It is really amazing – you all have really grown fantastic beautiful plants, trees and flowers. I am truly impressed. Today, one of you is going to be selected as the Crown Prince to be the next King...!” 

The small shy boy shivered with tremors of trepidation.

He was overcome with shame and fear and he tried to hide in the back.

The King’s eyes searched all over and suddenly he saw the small shy boy at the back of the hall with his barren pot.

The King ordered his guards to bring him in front of the throne.

The small shy boy was terrified and thought to himself, “When the King looks at my pot, and sees how badly I have failed in the task he gave me, he is sure to punish me...!” 

Seeing how frightened the small shy boy was, the King stepped down from his throne, walked down towards the petrified boy, lovingly put his hand on the small shy boy’s shoulders and announced: “This boy is your new King...!”

The small shy boy could not believe his ears.

It was unbelievable that the King should select a failure and loser like him who could not even sprout his seed be the Crown Prince. 

The King escorted the small shy boy to the throne and said to everyone: “One year ago I gave all of you a seed. I told you to take the seed, plant it, water it, and bring it back to me today. But what you did not know is that I gave you all boiled seeds that would not grow. Except this honest boy, all of you have brought me beautiful plants with exotic flowers and even trees with fruit. When you found out that the seed would not grow, you substituted another seed for the one I gave you. This boy was the only one with the sincerity to nurture the barren seed for one whole year with dedication, hope and perseverance and had the courage and honesty to bring me the desolate pot with my original seed in it. Therefore, I select him as my Crown Prince to be the next King...!”


I wonder whether this story is relevant today and, in the current scenario.

You decide, before you tell this story to your kids (or maybe you can modify the story accordingly in consonance with the modern value system).

Tell me, Dear Reader, in the world of today:

Is honesty really the best policy ?


VIKRAM KARVE
Copyright © Vikram Karve 2013
Vikram Karve has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the author of this work. 
© vikram karve., all rights reserved. 

No part of this Blog may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical including photocopying or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the Blog Author Vikram Karve who holds the copyright.
Copyright © Vikram Karve 2013 all rights reserved

Did you like reading this story?
I am sure you will like all the 27 stories in my book  COCKTAIL an anthology of Short Fiction.
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About Vikram Karve

A creative person with a zest for life, Vikram Karve is a retired Naval Officer turned full time writer and blogger. Educated at IIT Delhi, IIT (BHU) Varanasi, The Lawrence School Lovedale and Bishops School Pune, Vikram has published two books: COCKTAIL a collection of fiction short stories about relationships (2011) and APPETITE FOR A STROLL a book of Foodie Adventures (2008) and is currently working on his novel and a book of vignettes and an anthology of short fiction. An avid blogger, he has written a number of fiction short stories and creative non-fiction articles on a variety of topics including food, travel, philosophy, academics, technology, management, health, pet parenting, teaching stories and self help in magazines and published a large number of professional  and academic research papers in journals and edited in-house journals and magazines for many years, before the advent of blogging. Vikram has taught at a University as a Professor for 15 years and now teaches as a visiting faculty and devotes most of his time to creative writing and blogging. Vikram Karve lives in Pune India with his family and muse - his pet dog Sherry with whom he takes long walks thinking creative thoughts.

Vikram Karve Academic and Creative Writing Journal: http://karvediat.blogspot.com
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Email: vikramwamankarve@gmail.com
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