Saturday, April 21, 2007
A teacher was telling his students about the dangers of riding a bicycle without the protection of a helmet. In case of an accident, he warned, head injuries were very likely to occur. He then told them a number of stories about teenagers who had been paralyzed by falls from bicycles.
The students listened to the stories wide-eyed and open-mouthed, but the next day they were again riding blithely down the road, their helmets dangling from their bicycle seats.
The frustrated teacher sought the principal’s advice.
“I know they believed the stories,” he said. “I could see it in the shock and the concern on their faces. If so, why didn’t they start wearing their helmets? I don’t understand it.”
“It’s just human nature,” said the principal. “You hear the stories, but somehow, you never relate them to yourself. Listen to me. Tomorrow, bring a wheelchair into your classroom and leave it there for a few days. In their own minds, they will begin seeing themselves in the wheelchair. Mark my words. In a week, they will all be wearing their helmets.”
I understand little about human nature, despite being one myself.