Fresh & Foul, Stone & Sand, Music & Maths: 3 inspirational stories for you!

After reading my own blogpost about the awesome autumn cakes I couldn’t resist baking one (again). Having lots of apples at home, I chose to bake the apple fudge cake. You only need two apples for the recipe, so I picked 2 good looking apples and started cutting them into pieces for my cake. The first one was absolutely fine, juicy and fresh. The second one however, one that was just as good looking as the first one, was bruised and mushy inside. That reminded me of a powerful metaphor. Since it has been a while that I have posted a story on my blog, I decided to do so this week. And because it has been so long, I have selected not 1, but 3 inspirational stories for you. Enjoy them!

Fresh & Foul

I will start with the story about the two apples. Although it is a metaphor, it is also a true story.

One day, a Birmingham teacher,  called Rosie Dutton, brought two apples with her to school. One she had deliberately dropped on the floor several times before bringing it to school. The other she had handled carefully. Before presenting the two apples to her pupils, she polished both apples thoroughly so they looked equally shining from the outside and then she started her lesson.

“I picked up the apple I’d dropped on the floor and started to tell the children how I disliked this apple, that I thought it was disgusting, it was a horrible colour and the stem was just too short. I told them that because I didn’t like it, I didn’t want them to like it either, so they should call it names too.

Some children looked at me like I was insane, but we passed the apple around the circle calling it names, ‘you’re a smelly apple’, ‘I don’t even know why you exist’, ‘you’ve probably got worms inside you’ etc.

We then passed another apple around and started to say kind words to it, ‘You’re a lovely apple’, ‘Your skin is beautiful’, ‘What a beautiful colour you are’ etc.

I then held up both apples, and again, we talked about the similarities and differences, there was no change, both apples still looked the same. “I then cut the apples open. The apple we’d been kind to was clear, fresh and juicy inside.

The apple we’d said unkind words to was bruised and all mushy inside.”

Rosie Dutton has used this story to make her pupils aware of the effects of bullying. Words are very powerful indeed, like I have described from a different perspective in the blogpost “Black and white Christmas dress“.

Stones & Sand

My second story is another metaphor. Again, it’s a teacher using a wonderful story to teach his pupils a life lesson…

One day a philosophy professor stood up before his class with a large and empty jar. He filled the jar to the top with large stones and asked his students if the jar was full.

The students said that yes, the jar was full.

He then added small pebbles to the jar, and gave the jar a bit of a shake so the pebbles could disperse themselves among the larger stones. Then he asked again, “Is the jar full now?”

The students agreed that the jar was indeed full.

The professor then poured sand into the jar to fill up any remaining empty space. The students then agreed that the jar was completely full.

The professor went on to explain that the jar represents everything in life.

“The stones represent what is most important, family, friends and health. This means that if the pebbles and the sand were lost, the jar would still be full and your life would still have meaning.

The pebbles are things that give your life meaning (such as your job, house and hobbies), but they are less critical for you than the stones. The pebble things often come and go and are not permanent or essential to your overall well-being.

Finally, the sand represents the remaining filler things in your life and your material possessions.

So, it’s important to fill your jar in the right order. If you start with putting sand into the jar, you will not have room for stones or pebbles. If you spend all of your time on the small and insignificant things, you will run out of room for the things that are really important.”

One student raised his arm and asked the professor why there was a beer bottle next to the jar. The professor answered: “I am glad you ask. You know, no matter how busy your life is, there is always time to have a drink with your friends!”

This wonderful story is one my friends and I love a lot, including the “always having time for a drink with your friends”, although we’d rather meet for a coffee (and cake).

If you’d like to watch a short, animated version of this story, you can click here.

Music & Maths

My last story isn’t a metaphor. I just happen to read about it last week and was so impressed by it, that I want to share it here. It’s all about realising that you have to change something if you want to change something. That sounds so logical, doesn’t it, but how often do we just stick to our routines and only wish for a change…? The headmaster of a school in Bradford, England, was so brave to completely change the curriculum at this school. Read what happened.

His school was doing bad, really bad in overage scores on Maths and English for years. Years! Not only that, behaviour was also a massive issue in the school. The headmaster realised they had to change something, because:

If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got“-Henry Ford.

So, instead of focussing only on the compulsory subjects, the school put a strong emphasis on Music in the curriculum. They appointed a specialised music teacher and from then on Music has been on the agenda of all pupils, during and after school. The music lessons are energetic and entertaining, full of dancing and singing and the kids just love it. And guess what? Not only do the pupils enjoy their music lessons to the fullest, the atmosphere in the school has also changed. And guess again… the scores on Maths and English have changed too. This same school is (after 6 years of having worked with this different curriculum) in the top 10% of schools in England when it comes to subjects like Maths and English! Isn’t that amazing and super positive? It shows that:

The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new“- Socrates

For the full story, click here to read and enjoy or here to watch and enjoy.

So ladies, talk positively, set your priorities right, make time for a drink with your friends, change something if you want to change something and sing and dance through the coming week!

Skirt: H&M (more photos here)

Talk to you again next week.



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  1. Oh I do love stories like these! Often something bad has to happen before realising what is really important! Same goes for me. Have a great weekend Lieske!

    1. Yeah, we sometimes need a real wake-up call before we set our priorities right. Happy to read you love the stories Nancy. I like them a lot too. Love, Lieske

  2. What a lovely post and the perfect twirling outfit to add a bit of punctuation !I am especially taken with the apple metaphor…even bruised apples should be beautiful .
    What a relevant metaphor.
    Oh, the power of words and labels. AND..
    Yes, lets focus our creative energies on building !!!
    xoxo, Elle

    1. Dear Elle. The apple metaphor is so powerful, isn’t it? Especially the fact that you often cannot judge how much someone is hurt from the outside. I love how you have incorporated the word AND in your comment. Another powerful word! So happy to see that a previous blogpost has stuck with one of my favourite readers. Love, Lieske

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