The Parable of the Ice Cream Boy


Suppose you’re presented with two pictures, one after the other. The first picture is of a young boy, sitting and smiling. His hair is neatly-parted, and his clothes are clean.

You might see him and think, “What a well-behaved child!” and think positively on what you see.

Then you see a picture of another boy, his face smeared with ice cream. He’s laughing, and his clothes are similarly smeared with ice cream.

You might see him and think, “What a misbehaved child!” and come away thinking negatively on the sight.

However, perception isn’t everything.

The reason why the one boy had ice cream smeared on his face is because he had ice cream. The boy who was neat and clean was smiling because he was told to, because someone had to take his picture. The boy with the ice cream didn’t have to be told to smile because he had reason to.

I don’t know about you, but between the two I’d rather be the boy with the ice cream. He’s enjoying a simple pleasure in life rather than being made to put on a charade for someone else’s amusement.

The boys in the comparison above can be likened to many real-world people in a variety of circumstances. Do either of them remind you of anyone you know?

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