The Old Man, the Little Boy and the Donkey
An old man and his small grandson were on the way to market. The old man had a bad hip, so he rode their donkey while the little boy walked beside him. Presently they passed some women on their way home from the market. One of the women said, “Look at that old man riding while his little grandson walks. He has no compassion for the young. Shameful!”
The grandfather heard this and felt embarrassed, so he said to his grandson, “You must be tired. Why don’t you ride for a while, and I will walk.”
Presently they passed some elderly men who were sitting around drinking coffee and playing backgammon. One of them said, “Look at that boy riding, while his old grandfather limps. Where is the respect for the elders? That boy has been badly raised.”
Again the grandfather felt embarrassed. He said, “Let’s ride together for a while.” So they both rode the donkey.
Soon they passed a man in religious robes who said to them, “Salam my friends. Don’t you know that even animals have rights in Islam? You are burdening that poor animal with your combined weight.”
Finally the grandfather decided that they would both walk, in order to give the donkey some rest. They both trudged along beside the donkey, the old man limping and the boy complaining that his feet hurt. As they passed a group of young men who were loitering and watching passers-by, one of the men exclaimed, “Look at those fools walking while they have a perfectly good donkey! Are they afraid of heights?” And all the young men laughed.
The moral is clear: Altering your behavior to please other people is futile. No matter what you do, someone will always find fault. Do what you feel is right, and stick to it.