Ask our children:

1. Should we do our work well in advance or leave it for the last minute?

2. Does it feel better to be on time or to be late?

Now tell them the story:

“And the award for the best student in the entire school goes to Ziyaad!”

Ziyaad ran to collect his prize as everyone began to congratulate him. Just then, he heard his mother shout, “Ziyaad! Are you still sleeping?” With a shock, he sat up in bed as his mother pulled his ear, only to realize that it had all been a dream.

He quickly jumped out of bed, dressed, ate and got into his father’s car. As he rushed into the car, he slipped and his lunch fell all over the floor. For messing the car, his father pulled his ear. This was the second time so far!

When he reached school, he ran for the school gate, but he was already late. The headmaster was waiting at the gate and pulled his ear. This was the third time for the day.

He reached class but his homework was not done. The teacher pulled his ear, the fourth time for the day.

It was break time and his friends wanted to play soccer. But Ziyaad had taken his friends’ ball home and forgot to bring it to school. So they became upset with him and pulled his ear, the fifth time for the day.

He went to madrasah in the afternoon, but did not learn his work, so Apa pulled his ear, the sixth time for the day.

After he ate supper, he felt lazy and left his plate on the dastarkhaan instead of taking it to the scullery. His big sister caught him trying to sneak away to his room and pulled his ear. The seventh time for the day.

Just when he thought that his troubles were over, his father called him and pulled his ear for troubling his little brother. The eighth time for the day.

That night, Ziyaad saw himself in a dream, sitting on a donkey. He was in a hurry to reach his destination, but the donkey refused to move. It was only when he pulled the donkey’s ear that it started to move. Ziyaad then realized that everybody had been pulling his ears so that he would stop being careless and lazy and start working hard.

Lesson: Get your work done before the ear-pull can come.