A story with an important message for parents, educators and anyone who loves papayas, bananas AND…



Once upon a time there was a small island named “Papaya Island “.

In this Island Jimmy the giraffe lived together with his father and mother.

The source of income for Jimmy’s parents was papaya fruit-picking, same like everyone else on this island.


The curriculum in all schools focused on papayas, its size, weight, flavor and color.

Of course, Jimmy, same as all other kids came to school dressed in orange uniforms as the more children learned about papayas, the more productive the harvest will be.

Thus, at the end of the school year, students had exams and they were tested on their theoretical and practical knowledge.

Accordingly, those who had an average knowledge – received an average score.

Those who knew more than the average – received honorable mention.

Those who did not know enough – severely disciplined for not having invested enough, for not trying enough and that for not being goal driven.


In theory Jimmy was above average student, but in practice he had a big problem, as Jimmy was too short.

In fact Jimmy was the shortest giraffe in the whole Island.

When students went out for harvest – those whom reached the height of the trees, managed to pick papayas. Whereas, Jimmy that was unable to reach, began to disturb others by kicking a football toward the Papaya trees (mainly because he loved playing football but also as his self-image was severely damaged), and of course for not been able to pick papayas.

Jimmy’s parents were summoned by the school’s principal for a talk and Jimmy again was severely reprimanded for his behavior during the harvest.

“It is third year in a raw that we keep Jimmy in the same level,” told the principal to Jimmy and his parents.

Jimmy and his parents returned sad to their home. This is how life is, not everyone has luck. Indeed, it can be said that Jimmy’s parents loved him and supported him as much as they knew. “Maybe next year you will grow taller, and be like everyone else,” but deep down in their hearts they knew that Jimmy will not grow taller.

Jimmy was not like everyone else, he had special skills, in fact he was the best football player in his school but that was not important, as we know ‘they’ have lost hope.


Is this how you want the story to end?

They say that the principal together with Jimmy’s concerned parents decided to ask the island’s sage Giraffe for its advice.

The sage offered:

  1. Plant banana trees, which short children as Jimmy can reach.
  2. Provide ladders so even short children as Jimmy can reach tall papaya trees.

The school’s principal asked:

“And how can we give scores? Is it the same score for those who picked from short banana trees as those who picked from tall papaya trees? Is it the same grade for a child who used a ladder to pick papaya as a child who didn’t use? ”

The wise man said:

“Aha! This is an important question. You must make an important decision:

What do you want? Fruits or grades?


Also the principal and also Jimmy’s parents got the message.

Some say that Jimmy became the most famous banana farmer in Papaya Island and the whole inhabitants arrived to drink a healthy refreshing banana papaya shake in Jimmy’s place.

Other versions say that Jimmy that had a great passion for football, bought the best team on the Island giving it a new name ‘Banana Bulls’; founded an association focusing on kids and self-esteem and also founded the first Democratic School on Papaya Island.


Message by the author


What do you think? Which is more important: grades or learning?

Grades, the one part of school nearly every student hates. Grades are important because they tell us how well we did on an exam or assignment, but is that really what learning is all about? and what about Jimmy in that story? How would you like his story to end? Is education is all about get students fit to the school’s program or vis versa, fit the school’s programs to the students set of skills and talents?

Teaching students how to think and not what to think should be our main goal as educators and as a society. Learning and understanding should be more important than grades and starting to assess how well students can apply it to the real world.


Coach Carter – That’s what education is all about . . . learning and learning how to learn. And for these youngest students, it’s about learning how to love to learn.


I Will Not Let An Exam Result Decide My Fate||Spoken Word

“I Will Not Let An Exam Result Decide My Fate” picks up on the education topic but takes a different stance and angle from “Why I Hate School But Love Education”. This poem talks about how we have been made to think about how education and getting university degrees can give us opportunities to have a better chance in making our dream careers a reality. It also touches on how as individuals we are judged and tested by how well we perform on exams, but not all people perform well in exams so why are they made out to feel like they’re dumb? The inconsistencies of the education system are really peeled open to reveal a deep problem that needs to be addressed and how society’s needs have changed to make this even more apparent.

When it boils down to it, why are we misled into thinking that education is the only way forward for successful means in our work and career lives? We need to open our minds and educate ourselves that exam results aren’t the barometer of success and that we can’t let them decide our fate. We are in charge of our own destinies!


As we join together, forming networks of human concern about the future, we will find the strength and wisdom needed to create a better future for all.

Raising humanity on a new path

It all starts with YOU!

With playful regards,