Story of Gandhi and Sweets
There is a story of a troubled mother who had a daughter who was addicted to sweets. One day she approached Gandhi, explained the problem to him and asked whether he might talk to the young girl. “Bring your daughter to me in three weeks time and I will speak to her.” After three weeks, the mother brought her daughter to him. He took the young girl aside and spoke to her about the harmful effects of eating sweets excessively and urged her to abandon her bad habit. The mother thanked Gandhi for this advice and then asked him: “But why didn’t you speak to her three weeks ago?” Gandhi replied, “Because three weeks ago, I was still addicted to sweets.”
And there’s the lesson: We must do more than just point out the right road to others; we must be on that road ourselves. For this reason, the integrity of our private lives and private morals, down to the smallest detail, is the real power behind our words.
We know from our own lives that anyone who has the right and power to ask us to make a real sacrifice has that right and power only because he or she was inviting us into a moral reality that he or she was already living. Conversely, we’ve all experienced how feeble is the invitation from someone who speaks the right things, but doesn’t live them.