A lesson for life

This story is about a high school teacher who wanted to teach his students an important lesson. He wanted to show them that it is a privilege to be able to get an education and he wanted to show how they should make the most of  this privilege. Since the teacher knew that a boring presentation about it would not achieve the desired effect, he thought up a little interactive task. The result might surprise you or even open your eyes a bit.

Youtube/ Agape Management

All that the teacher needed for the experiment was a trash can as well as a sheet of paper for each student. He explained to them that they would represent the population of the country in the experiment. And every single one of them now had the chance to get rich. To do so, they would have to crumple up their paper and try to throw it into the trash can. And at the same time, each student should remain seated at his desk.

Youtube/ Alltags Helfer

The students did what the teacher told them. They all crumpled up their bits of paper and aimed for the trash can that the teacher had placed in the middle of the front of the class. The result went as expected: The students who sat at the front had no problem with the task. Most of them made it in. Most of the students from the back rows missed the trash can. Either they were sitting too far away or the paper balls struck the students sitting in the front rows. The teacher explained, "The closer you are to the trash can, the better your chances of making it in. And that is what privilege is." Of course the students who were sitting in the front row did not complain that the task was unfair. No, it was the students sitting at  the back. The students from the front row, by contrast, were concentrated and focused completely on their task. They took little note of the fact that they had an advantage over the students sitting at  the back.


After all students had tried to make it into the trash can a couple of times and got the same result every time, the teacher took a moment to explain to the students what the point of the exercise was. "You all see that the students at the back had a harder time making it into the trash can than the students at the front. You guys at the front are privileged compared to your classmates at the back. Many paper balls from the back missed the trash can, because you guys at the front blocked the way. Some of the balls bounced off you without any of you noticing. You should be aware of this advantage. Take care of the people behind you that have it harder than you do. Education is a similar kind of privilege that you should learn to value. Use it to do amazing things but don't forget the people in the back row. Because maybe you are impeding them without even knowing it."