A Tale Of Stones: Dealing With Problems

The tale of the stones: managing problems

A teacher at an adult school wanted to teach his students a lesson. Many of them did not have enough time to study because they alternated between classes and work and had various financial problems. Some were married, had children, and felt overwhelmed with responsibilities. So the teacher decided to introduce him to the fable of the stones.

Some students didn’t even want to hear it. It seemed to him, in a way, a waste of time. They were more interested in moving forward in the subject matter than in hearing the tale of the stones. After all, they were adults and didn’t need anyone to try to teach them how to live.

Despite the resistance of the students, and because of it, the teacher persisted. Then he took a glass jar and put it on the table. Then he pulled out some large stones from under the desk and placed them next to the jar. Then he asked the students if they thought the bottle would be full with those stones.

The experiment of the fable of stones

The students began to speculate. Everyone made an estimate of the amount of stones that could fit into the jar and decided if they would be able to fill it. In the end, almost everyone agreed that the stones were big enough to fill the jar. Thus began the experiment of the fable of stones.

Stones in the sand

The teacher then introduced the stones, one by one. Eventually they reached the rim of the jar. Then he asked the students: “Is the jar full?” Almost all of them said yes. Then the teacher pulled out a small bag containing smaller stones from under the desk. He asked them if it was possible for these stones to fit inside the jar. The students thought about it for a while and then said yes.

The teacher gradually inserted them until the bag was empty. Again he questioned his students: “Is the jar full?” The students watched carefully. After verifying that there was no room for anything else, they said yes, the jar was now full.

There is always room for more

Although everyone thought it was impossible to put anything else inside the jar, the teacher surprised them again. At this point he took out a bag. Inside it was sand. This time in silence, he began throwing it into the jar. To everyone’s surprise, the sand made its way into the jar’s contents. The students did not take into account the fact that there is always a small space between stone and stone.

Again the teacher asked, “Is the jar full?” This time without hesitation, the students said yes. It was impossible to introduce anything else. The few remaining spaces had already been filled with sand.

Bottle in the sand

The teacher took a jar full of water and began to pour it on the jar, which was already full of large, small and sand stones. The content did not spill. This meant that there was still room for water, even if everything was clogged. The sand began to get wet and most of the liquid managed to enter. When he finished, the teacher asked, “What have you learned from this?”

The fable of the stones: moral

When the teacher asked the question, one of the students was quick to give his answer: “This story teaches us that it doesn’t matter how many things you have on your agenda. There will always be room for something else. It’s all a matter of organization ”.

The teacher was silent. Another student also wanted to participate. He said the teaching was infinite, that you can put more and more things in your head, like it’s that jar. After all, it will always be possible to add something else.

Seeing that the students did not understand the fable of stones experiment, the teacher spoke. This time he asked them: “ What would have happened if I had done everything backwards? What if you started with water and so on, all the way to the bigger stones? The students replied that the jar would quickly overflow.

Stones set in a tower

“Now you understand,” said the teacher. “Water, sand and stones are the problems. Some are large, some are small, and some are barely visible. If we start by tackling the big problems first, there will be room for the small ones. But if we do it the other way around, we won’t solve anything ”. This is what the tale of the stones teaches: let’s start solving the big worries first, otherwise the small ones will overflow.

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