Take 5 – 20 Feb 2017 by Mr Ng Mang Chung, Derrick
Good morning school, amidst the preparation of your common test this week. Let me share with you a story about how a father tricked his rebellious son, who was failing at school, into becoming a straight “A” student.
There was this boy whose family moved to America before he could finish his primary school. Pretty soon he started junior high (Secondary School), and turned into a rebellious teenager.
He was a headache for all his teachers; He was mischievous, a poor learner, and a daydreamer. Every day he will dream of being the next Michael Schumacher — the most famous and accomplished race car driver in the world.
Eventually, his grades dropped down really low to a “C.”
Then, one day the father talked to the son about school work. The father had a mischievous smile on his face.
The father said: “Your teacher told me you’re dreaming of being the next Michael Schumacher, and you don’t like to learn, right?”
The son felt the ridicule in his words, which was a great insult to a 14-year-old’s fragile dignity.
In annoyance the son responded: “Schumacher is my idol; he was very much like me, a poor learner, and he even scored zero points when he was my age. But look at him now, he’s the world’s top racer.”
The father suddenly laughed heartily, and his laughter seemed to be even more mischievous: “He scored zero points, but you have never accomplished that. It’s always a “C!”, as he showed the son his report card.
The son couldn’t believe his father was laughing at him for not getting a score of zero; now he was really insulted. “So, you expect me to get a score of zero?” he asked.
The father leaned back on his chair, smiled, and said: “Yes, that’s a very good idea! Let’s make a bet. If you can get a score of zero, I’ll never say another word about your schooling, and you can do as you please. However, until you have reached that point, you must follow my instructions for your schooling. How about that?”
So, they gave each other a high-five to confirm the bet.
The son was laughing on the inside at the thought of having such a lovable, but stupid parent.
The father said: “However, we are talking about tests, and there must be some rules. You must answer all the questions, so you cannot quit or leave any of them unanswered; otherwise, you are breaching our contract, OK?”
That was simple, he thought, so the son immediately said: “No problem!”
Soon, the son had his first test. Getting a zero shouldn’t be hard, as he didn’t understand half the questions to begin with. The first question: “Who was our president fighting against the Nazis during the World War ll; Carter, Roosevelt, or Eisenhower?” He knew it was Roosevelt, but put down Eisenhower on purpose.
Most of the questions he knew the answer to, but slowly, the questions became increasingly difficult, and he didn’t know the correct answers to some of them, so he just guessed the answers.
When he walked out of the classroom, he became very nervous; getting a score of zero was not as easy as he thought. Guessing the answers that he didn’t know still might get him points that he didn’t want. When he got his test back he had scored another “C;” he was really frustrated.
The father said: “Please try score a zero next time. With a score of zero, you’ll be totally free!” The son thought the father didn’t know what he was talking about. Anyway, getting a zero was still much easier than scoring 100, he thought.
Soon, he got his second chance, but failed again. Then a third and a fourth… but he still got a “C.”
The son realized in order to score a zero; he had to study hard so he knew that he wasn’t giving the correct answers on the test. In other words, he was learning how to answer everything correctly.
A year later, he finally received his first zero. That meant that he knew the right answer to every question, but consistently chose the wrong ones.
The father was very excited that day — he went into the kitchen and cooked the son’s favourite dishes to congratulate him on his test results.
The father announced loudly and proudly: “Son, congratulations! You have finally scored a zero.” He winked at the son and added: “Only “A” students know how to get a score of zero, and you probably know that by now. You have been tricked! Ha ha ha!”
Yes, the father has tricked the son. In this betting game, the son behaved exactly as the father had expected. The father had cleverly changed scoring 100 into scoring 0, so that son would accept it readily and willingly motivated to work towards it. The son ended up getting accepted into Harvard, and have completed his master’s degree, and starting working towards his Ph.D. When he turned eighteen he realized, he didn’t want to be another Schumacher after all; he just wanted to be the one and only… himself.
So Gessians, when was the last time you dreamed of becoming someone successful but has lack the motivation to strive for success. Do you need someone to trick you or change your mindset to become an “A” student? I believe if you can change your mind, you can change your life.
To end, I will leave you with one of my favourite Michael Schumacher quote “Once something is a passion, the motivation is there.” On that note, I hope every Gessians will find your passion and be motivated to scoring 0 for your common tests, I meant 100…
Ng Mang Chung, Derrick