At the end of assembly in a girls' boarding school in New South Wales, around the time of the moon landing, the head mistress made a final announcement. 'All girls will be familiar with the rice meal we have for charity once a month,' she said, 'and some of you have complained that it is rather dull.' Her audience stared at their shoes, unwilling to confirm or deny the statement. Where was this heading? Was blame about to be apportioned? Would there be punishment for dissenters if they spoke up?
'You may think we don't listen to you,' their leader continued, 'but we do.' Silence. What was she plotting? 'Having made some inquiries, I have ascertained that a soup meal would cost as little as a rice meal. This means we will be able to raise the same amount for charity by providing only soup for one meal a month as we have done in the past by providing only plain boiled rice.' The headmistress looked out across the rows of students, all in identical sack-like brown tunics and beige knee socks. 'Those of you who would like to continue with the rice option, please raise your hands.' No hand was raised. 'And the soup option?' The school moved as one.
Two days later, at the end of assembly in a girls' boarding school in New South Wales, around the time of the moon landing, the headmistress made another final anouncement. 'All girls will remember the vote we took on the subject of the charity rice meals and the possibilitiy of replacing them with soup,' she said. 'Since then I have had some discussions with the kitchen staff. It has been agreed that we will be continuing with our traditional boiled rice.'
A Lesson of Profound Humility
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