Wednesday, October 22, 2008


A boy was diagnosed to be diabetic. The Doctor gave a strict instruction that he should not eat sweets or sugar. His mother tried to persuade the boy to stop the practice of eating sweets. But she failed. So she took the boy to a saintly priest who was respected and obeyed by all. She requested him, “My son is diabetic. Kindly instruct him to stop the dangerous habit of eating sweets and sugar.” The priest asked her to return with the boy after two weeks and promised that then he would give the necessary instructions to the boy. The mother was surprised but followed the directions. She returned with the boy after two weeks. The priest issued a stern warning and the boy readily agreed to follow the order. Later, out of curiosity, the mother asked the priest why he did not give the instruction during their first visit. “That is simple”, he said, “When you came to me on the first day, I myself was in the habit of eating sugar and sweets. Unless and until I change my habit and practise this myself, how can I ask another person to follow my instruction?”

The story reminds us that example is better than precept. An ideal leader is one who “knows the way, shows the way and goes the way.” A preacher who has the habit of smoking does not have the authority or credibility to ask others to quit the habit.

Society needs credible leaders who practice what they preach.

St. Paul advises, “Put into practice what you learnt and received from me, both from my words and from my actions” {Philippians 4: 9}.

St. Paul says, “Imitate me, then, just as I imitate Christ” {1 Corinthians 11: 1}

Jesus said,” I have set an example for you, so that you will do just what I have done for you” {John 13: 15}. Jesus warns against the teachers of the law and the Pharisees, “So you must obey and follow everything they tell you to do; do not, however, imitate their actions, because they don’t practise what they preach {Matthew, 23: 3}.


Dr. Babu Philip, Professor, Cochin University of Science & Technology, Fine Arts Avenue, Kochi-682016, Kerala, India.

This is Story No. 6 in this site. Please click ‘Older Post’ at the bottom of a page to read previous stories and click 'Newer Post' at the bottom of a page to read newer stories in this site. Please click on a word in the 'Story Themes' to read stories on that theme.

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