A little boy came up to his mother in the kitchen one evening while she was fixing supper, and he handed her a piece of paper that he had been writing on.
After his mom dried her hands on an apron, she read it, and this is what it said:
For cutting the grass: $5.00
For cleaning up my room this week: $1.00
For going to the store for you: 50c
Baby-sitting my brother while you went shopping: 25c
Taking out the garbage: $1.00
For getting a good report card: $5.00
For cleaning up and raking the yard: $2.00
Total owed: $14.75
Well, his mother looked at him standing there, and the boy could see the memories flashing through her mind.
She picked up the pen, turned over the paper he’d written on, and this is what she wrote:
For the nine months I nurtured you here while you were growing inside me there: No Charge
For all the nights that I’ve sat up with you, doctored and nursed and prayed for you: No Charge
For all the trying times, and all the tears that you’ve caused through the years: No Charge
For all the nights that were filled with dread, and for the worries I knew were ahead: No Charge
For the toys, food, clothes, and even wiping your runny nose: No Charge, Son
When you add it up, the cost of my love is: No Charge
When the boy finished reading what his mother had written, there were big tears in his eyes, and he looked straight at his mother and said, “Mom, I sure do love you.”
And then he took the pen, picked up his bill, and in great big letters he wrote:
“PAID IN FULL.”
As parents, we know that young children are self-centered. The world is all about them. It is up to us to try and make them understand that it is not all about them.
When I read this I had imagined that this mother was at the end of a very long day. She probably had a tough time at work, didn’t eat properly during the day, had to go food shopping on her way home from work in order to be able to prepare dinner, got home late, had to help her child with homework and cook dinner. When she is at wits end, her son shows up with his list. Instead of flying off the handle, yelling and screaming at her child at the obvious “nerve” that her son had by presenting her with his bill, she realizes that this is a wonderful teaching moment.
When faced with a similar situation let us take a lesson from this mother.