Sometimes you need to listen to others, by being flexible, to know why/how they get different answers.

It was junior and his lesson teacher that occupied the living room, battling arithmetic. 

“Junior, if I give you one apple now, another one later, another one, how many apples would you have altogether?” Teacher asked
“Four” Junior supplied the confusing answer.

“Four!” Teacher exclaimed

“If I give you an apple now, I give you an apple later, another one, how many apples do you have?”
“Four apples”

She (the teacher) was confused. She didn’t know what had come over Junior that evening. Though his parents were not indoor but she didn’t want them to discover the burning matter because, to her, they might be thinking she wasn’t doing great work over Junior.

 This also happen to us when we are teaching or telling people to do certain things and later find out that they are doing something very different. In fact, some of us may even get frustrated to the extent that we will send the people away instead of trying another method to deal with them patiently like the teacher did.

Okay Junior” She lowered her voice. Her eyes riveted Junior’s

“If I give you an orange now, another one later, another one later” she continued “How many oranges will you have?”

“Three oranges” He gave correct answer.
The teacher was at ease. She felt relieved. He was getting it right, she thought.

“Now, I give you an apple in the morning, another one in the afternoon, another one in the evening, how many apples do you have altogether?” She re-asked the former question.

“Four apples”
“Okay, why four apples?”

That’s what we too should do. Ask people the reason(s) behind their response(s). You don’t know may be they are seeing things from another perspective. All you need to do is to be patient like the teacher.

“I add the apple in my bag with the three apples you give me. So I have four apples with me” Junior explained.

“Hmmm” It was the teacher.
“You give me the exact answer.  Because the question is ‘…how many apples do you have altogether?'” She nodded her head.

More from the Writer: IMPRISONED THOUGHTS

How do you ask questions? Sometimes you just need to sit down and think over the way you construct questions. Yes! You have to. The teacher realized that Junior was right. She could have constructed her question in this version: “how many apples do I give you all together?”

You need to listen to others. Know their reason for giving you certain answers. Even if their 2 ×2 is 5, which it’s obvious that the answer is 4, ask them “why?”.


About Abdulrasheed Lawal
He is an experienced Educationist, a Poet and an Inspirational Writer who has touched many lives immensely through his creative Poems,  Articles and Short Stories. He currently resides in Ibadan, Nigeria.

You can reach him via


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One thought on “FLEXIBILITY

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