Truth in a Nutshell
A widow came to the Mulla’s court and said: “I am very poor. My young son eats a great deal of sugar: in fact he is addicted to it. This means that I cannot make ends meet. Would the Court forbid him to eat sugar, because I cannot myself enforce this request?”
“Madam,” said the Mulla, “this problem is not as easy as it seems. Return in a week and the decision will be given, after I have examined the case more thoroughly.”
After a week the woman’s name was again on the list of supplicants. “I am sorry,” Nasrudin said to her when her turn came, “there will be another adjournment of this very tricky case until next week.”
The same thing happened for the following fortnight. At length Nasrudin announced: “The Court will now give its injunction. Call the lad.”
The young man was brought before the Mulla. “Boy!” thundered the magistrate. “You are forbidden to eat sugar, except for half an ounce a day.”
The woman now expressed her thanks to the Mulla, and begged leave to ask one question. “Say on,” said Nasrudin.
“Your Worship, I am mystified as to why you did not forbid the boy to eat sugar at any of the earlier hearings.”
“Well,” said Nasrudin, “I had to get myself out of the habit first, didn’t I? How could I know that it would take so long?”
Idries Shah, The Pleasantries of the Incredible Mull a Nasrudin
The best way [to discipline children] is to be a good example…. Supposing one smokes and does not want the child to smoke. How is it possible to impress the child that it is wrong?… If we give advice but are not living up to all the good advice that we give, the child knows; so that advice does not have any effect at all.
Maharaj Charan Singh, The Master Answers