Friday, September 29, 2023

Hallway of Balloons

Here’s a sweet story that came my way:


Teachers at a school  gave every student a balloon, with instructions to write their name on it and then throw it in the hallway. Once the hallway was packed with balloons, students were given five minutes to find their original balloon. Not a single student could do it. 


The teachers then told students to pick up the balloon closest to them and give it to the person whose name was written on it. Less than five minutes later, every student was holding their own balloon. The moral? Those balloons are like happiness — we’ll never find it if we’re only just looking for our own. If we take time to care about other people’s happiness, we’ll find ours as well.


The story reminds me of another Chinese story. 


What’s the difference between heaven and hell?


In hell, everyone is seated at a sumptuous banquet and given a long pair of chopsticks. As each grabs the food in their chopsticks, they discover it’s too long to be able to get the food into their mouths. All that delicious food in front of them and they’re not able to eat any of it.


In heaven, they pick the food up in those long chopsticks and reach across the table to feed their neighbor. 


I’d love to encourage my teacher daughter to try the balloon thing— nothing like a concrete experience to drive a point home. However, I worry that it would be ecologically wasteful to use all those balloons. Any suggestions?

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