“A woman in India was upset that her son was eating too much sugar. No matter how much she chided him, he continued to satisfy his sweet tooth. Totally frustrated, she decided to take her son to see the local sahdu (holy man).
She approached the sadhu respectfully and said, “Sir, my son eats too much sugar. It is not good for his health. Would you please advise him to stop eating it?”
The sadhu listened to the woman carefully, turned, and spoke to her son, “Go home and come back in two weeks.”
The woman was perplexed. She took the boy by the hand and went home.
Two weeks later, she returned, boy in hand. The sadhu motioned for them to come forward. He looked directly at the boy and said, “Boy, you should stop eating sugar. It is not good for your health.”
The boy nodded and promised he would not continue this habit any longer.
The boy’s mother turned to the sadhu and asked, “Why didn’t you tell him that two weeks ago when I brought him here to see you?”
The sadhu smiled and said, “Mother, two weeks ago, I was still eating sugar myself.”
Moral: If you are going to give advice, take it yourself first.—Adapted from preilly, “Gandhi Story.”
h/t Tim Ferris. I changed it from Gandhi to a sadhu because it makes better sense to me. There are village elders, sadhus, etc. all over India that are respected in their communities enough to be a stand-in for Gandhi.