“I never expected the sun to be so bright today,” Tommy said to his younger cousin, George, and his grandfather, Joe. “Wasn’t it raining this morning?”
Joe looked up at the sky and nodded. “It was, but only a little,” he said. “I think it’s a beautiful day to be at the beach.”
George poured a bucket of sand onto the ground. “Do I need to get more?” he asked.
Tommy looked at the growing pile of sand and nodded, “Yes, you do. That isn’t enough to bury you with.”
Joe observed his grandchildren. Knowing that he didn’t have much time left on Earth, he tried to use every opportunity to teach the boys valuable life lessons. The more time he spent with Tommy, the more he realized that the boy’s laziness wasn’t just a phase. He was not proud of that behavior at all. “Why are you letting him carry the sand on his own?” he asked Tommy. “He is much smaller than you are.”
“He asked me to bury him with the sand, so he has to carry it,” Tommy replied.
Joe shook his head in disappointment. “Is that so?” he asked.
“Yes, sir,” Tommy said. “He can’t expect to be spoon-fed. The world doesn’t work like that.”
“You are so right,” Joe told him. He watched as George took multiple trips to fill his bucket with sand while Tommy relaxed. When they’d had enough, Tommy told George to lie back on the ground. “How is your new job going?” Joe asked Tommy.
Tommy shrugged before replying. “I quit two days ago. They wanted me to work for little to nothing and I don’t have time to waste.” He picked up some more sand and covered his cousin’s leg.
“But it was only your second job and you only stayed at the first one for a few weeks, so you don’t have much experience,” Joe said. “Wouldn’t it have been a good idea to stay just to get some more experience?”
“No,” Tommy said. “That’s just exploitation and I already have a plan.” He sat back on his feet and looked up at his grandfather. “I’m going to start my own business and work for myself.”
Joe sighed, feeling like he’d somehow failed at being a role model to the boy. He couldn’t believe what he was saying to him. He’d always provided for his family in order to make them comfortable, but now, he wondered if he might have spoiled them beyond repair. “How are you going to start a business and where are you going to get the money?” he asked.
Tommy smiled. “I’m not sure what I am going to do just yet, but you have a lot of money, Grandpa, so you can give me the money to start something for myself.”
Tommy spoke so confidently that Joe was convinced that he believed that he could really start a business with no plan. That fact worried him even more. “Tommy,” he said. “There was once a boy who would get up everyday and walk miles and miles just to plough land and prepare it for planting. Everyone around him would laugh and call him stupid because he couldn’t even afford to buy proper shoes to traverse the long distance and rough terrain. He even struggled to buy food.”
“Then why did he stay in that job?” Tommy asked. “The people were right…he really was stupid.”
Joe held up his hand. “Listen, boy,” he said. He now had George’s attention, also. “That boy had a plan. He knew that working for that little bit of money was only the first phase of his plan. Each day he went to work, he would ask for lessons on how to use the machines; he would ask to learn the steps from planting, maintaining the crops and harvesting. He soaked up all the knowledge he could and slowly climbed the ranks, gaining more and more responsibility and soon…”
“Soon, he was running the farm!” George exclaimed.
Joe rubbed his head and chuckled. “Close, but not quite, George,” he said. “Soon, that boy grew into a man and was given his own plot of land as a reward for all his hard work and perseverance. He continued to work hard on that land and saved his money. He was then able to buy machines and hire other determined people to work for him. That lessened his work and his profits grew. He bought more and more land and hired more people. That man now owns countless farms all over the world and he no longer has to work.
“That’s you, Grandpa,” Tommy said calmly, allowing the story to sink in.
“Yes, yes, that’s you!” George said with a smile. “You did really well!”
It’s more than just monetary gain when you’re just starting out
Tommy sat in silence for a while. “Thank you for sharing your journey, Grandpa,” he said a few minutes later. “It’s more than just monetary gain when you’re just starting out.”
Joe nodded. “Now, what are you going to do about work?” he asked.
Tommy sighed. “I am going to swallow my pride and ask them for my job back.”
“That’s my boy,” Joe said. He stood and motioned for the boys to follow him. “Now, let’s go and have some lunch…straight from one of my farms.”
The boys smiled and followed their grandfather to the porch.