Reflecting Leads to Improvement
I had a wonderful opportunity to once learn more about Mahatma Gandhiji from his grandson Arun Gandhiji in a chance meeting in Orlando, Florida in U.S.A.
I asked Arunji to share some inspiring incident about Mahatma Gandhiji that was uncommon.
Arunji went on narrate an incident that I had not heard before about Gandhiji and one of his sons. The incident was when Gandhiji was still a practicing Lawyer in Johannesburg, South Africa. He was living about 18 miles outside Johannesburg and used to frequently visit Johannesburg as the courts were in Johannesburg.
On one occasion, Gandhiji found out that one of his sons had learnt how to drive the car without taking permission from him. Gandhiji asked his son why he had learnt how to drive without taking permission, to which the son replied that he was afraid that Gandhiji would refuse.
Gandhiji asked his son to be fearless and to communicate. Gandhiji then asked him to drive him to Johannesburg the next day as he had a court appointment. The son was very happy. Next day Gandhiji and his son went to Johannesburg. Gandhiji approved of his driving skills and told him to get the car serviced after he was dropped at the court and to pick him up at around 3:15pm. After he dropped Gandhiji around 10a.m. at the court, he went to the garage to get the car serviced. On that day there were no other cars being serviced, so the son could get the car serviced as soon as he reached. He was done by 11am, and had about four hours before he had to pickup his father.
The son couldn’t resist the temptation, gathered his friend who lived in Johannesburg and went for a drive. While with his friends, he lost track of time. He finally reached in front of the court at about 4:30pm. He could see his father, Gandhiji, pacing up and down, in front of the court. As soon as he stopped the car in front, he blurted out that there were many cars at the service station ahead of him therefore he got delayed. Gandhiji looked at him and told him that he had waited for about fifteen minutes, and then took a rickshaw to the garage. At the garage, the owner informed him that his son had got the car serviced at about 11am and had left. Gandhiji asked his son why he was lying to him. The son apologized for lying, telling Gandhiji that he was afraid to admit his mistake of taking his friends for a long ride.
Gandhiji fell silent, and told his son to take the car home. The son asked his father, how would he come home? To which Gandhiji replied that he would walk home the 18 miles and think as to what mistakes he has committed as a father in raising his son, for the son is too afraid to tell the truth. Son pleaded but was unable to convince his father to sit in the car. That day Gandhiji walked all the way, and his son drove the car very slowly behind his father. The six to eight hours taken by Gandhiji and the son to reach home must have given enough time for both the father and the son to reflect and to improve.
Often we indiscriminately spend our time in activities which keep us too busy to reflect. Please audit your activities and take out the time to reflect. The more we reflect, the more we can improve.