Posted with the Author's permission
by Andrew Michaels
Copyright© 2010 by Andrew Michaels
A mother was contemplating a dilemma. Normally, she assigned cleaning the toilets as a grungy chore for misbehavior. But none of her five children had misbehaved enough to be assigned the chore, and the toilets really needed to be scrubbed.
Then she had an idea. She took five large cookies from a tray of leftovers from her latest ladies meeting, put them and a ziplock bag, and called all of her children to her. "I need the toilets cleaned," she told her children, "and I will give the five cookies in this bag to the one who cleans them." She then offered the task to her children beginning with the oldest. Each made an excuse: "Sorry, Mom, I have too much homework." "I promised my friends I would play ball with them." "I told Becky that I would come by." "I need to finish my school project today." Finally, she came to the youngest. He thought about the last time that he had to clean the toilets, and how the smell had almost made him sick. Then he thought about how delicious those cookies would taste. "OK, I will do it," the youngest told his mother.
He gathered the cleaning supplies, and went to each of the three toilets in the house, scrubbing them thoroughly. By the time he came to the third toilet, he was against almost sick from the smell. But he forced himself to finish, them reported to his mother that he was done.
Mother inspected the toilets, expecting to have to point out some areas for rework. She was impressed that her youngest had done a thorough job, not rushing through the task just to get finished. "You have done an excellent job," she told her youngest, "and here is your reward!", handing him the bag of cookies.
The child opened the bag of cookies, the delicious smell wiping out the nausea from the odor of the toilets. He started to reach into the bag for the first cookie.
"Not so fast," his father spoke. The father had come in the door from work just before the mother handed the boy the cookies, and decided he needed to teach a valuable lesson. "What were you planning on doing with those five cookies?"
"Eating them?" the youngest replied.
"Don't you think it is greedy for you to eat all five cookies?" his father continued.
"Not really, since I earned them," the son answered. "All of my brothers and sisters were offered the opportunity to earn the cookies. I only got the job because they refused."
"Regardless of that, we need CHANGE in this household. I cannot continue to reward selfish and greedy behavior in my house. Give me the bag," the father demanded.
The boy reluctantly handed the bag of cookies to his father. The father took the bag, and distributed one cookie to each of the siblings, leaving the smallest cookie in the bag and returning it to his son, who was in tears.
"From each according to his ability, to each according to his need," the father quipped, repeating a quote he had heard from Barack Obama. He was so proud to live in a country that had elected Barack Obama as president, a country that valued fairness above all else, a country that would no longer excuse greed and selfishness, just because someone supposedly "earned" their money.
The lesson had been well learned. No child ever volunteered to do another task in the house, no matter how great the reward the mother offered. Once the oldest figured out that they could call human services if the parents ever did anything to punish them, and shared that secret with his siblings, they ignored the threats of their parents. No child ever did another chore, spending their days in idleness and fun. As each came of age, they proudly took their place in public housing and on the welfare rolls, continuing their idle existence. The father could not figure out where the mother had gone wrong with their upbringing.
Friday, August 20, 2010
Posted with the Author's permission
Posted by Don at 12:13 AM