Counting Mangoes

The Mathematics teacher turned to seven-year-old Jack and asked him, “If I give you one mango and one mango and one mango, how many mangoes will you have?”

Within a few seconds Jack replied confidently, “Four!”

The dismayed teacher was expecting an effortless correct answer, three. She was disappointed. Maybe the child did not listen properly,” she thought.

She repeated, “Jack, Listen carefully. If I give you one mango and one mango and one mango, how many mangoes will you have?”

Jack had seen the disappointment on his teacher’s face. So he calculated again on his finger and replied little hesitatingly, “Four.”

The disappointment stayed on the teacher’s face. She remembered that Jack like apples. She thought maybe he doesn’t like mangoes and that is making his lose focus.

The time with an exaggerated excitement and twinkling in her eyes she asked, “If I give you one apple and one apple and one apple, then how many will you have?”

Seeing the teacher happy, young Jack calculated on his fingers again. With a hesitating smile Jack replied, “Three?”

The teacher had a victorious smile. Her approach had worked. She wanted to congratulate herself.

But one last thing remained. Once again, she asked him, “Now if I give you one mango and one mango and one mango how many mangoes will you have?”

Promptly Jack replied, “Four!”

The teacher was aghast. “How Jack, how?” She demanded in a little stern and irritated voice.

In a voice that was low and hesitating young Jack replied, “Because I already have one mango in my bag.”

When someone gives you an answer that is different from what you expect, don’t think they are wrong. There shall be an angle that you may not have thought about yet.

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