Life Lesson: The Value of Time

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I don’t remember my source for this but if I’m not mistaken, it’s from one of the CHICKEN SOUP FOR THE SOUL books.

As the father pulled into his driveway, his son raced out of the front door yelling, “Daddy, Daddy, your home!”

The father was again late coming home from work, and after a difficult day, was tired and irritable. With a half-hearted hug for his son and a faint pat on the head, they walked into the house. The weary father yelled, “Honey, I’m home” to his wife in the kitchen, fell into his recliner, and put his feet up to relax before the evening meal.

Before he could find the TV remote control to turn on the evening news, the little boy came in and stood by his chair and shyly mumbled, “Daddy, can I ask you a question?”

“Sure, what is it?”

“Daddy, how much money do you make an hour?”

Irritated by the question, the father stared at the child and replied gruffly, “That’s none of your concern. What makes you ask such a thing?”

Shyly the little boy whispered, “I just wanted to know.” Then in a pleading tone he asked, “Daddy, please tell me how much you make an hour.”

“If you must know, I make twenty dollars an hour.”

“Daddy, may I borrow nine dollars. . . .please?”

Jumping to the conclusion that this was a scam to get a new toy, the father replied angrily, “You wanted to know how much I make so you can get money for candy or some silly toy? Your mother and I work very hard to provide for you. If you are going to be ungrateful for what you have, then you can go to bed without dinner.”

The little boy reluctantly climbed the stairs to his room and quietly closed his door.

All during dinner, the father fumed about his son’s ingratitude. Later, when he had calmed down, the father thought perhaps he had been too hard on his son. Maybe there was something the boy really needed to buy. Taking some of dinner’s leftovers he climbed the stairs to his son’s room. When he opened the door, he found the little boy lying on his bed. The father thought he could see the glisten of tears on his cheeks.

“I’ve been thinking, maybe I was too hard on you earlier. I’ve had a rough day and I took it out on you. I’m really sorry.” Placing the plate on the night stand he pulled the nine dollars from his wallet and gave it to his son. The little boy’s eyes lit up, and a smile split his face as he began to dig furiously under his pillow. “Oh thank you Daddy.”

His father watched in curiosity as the boy pulled a small money box and emptied notes and coins out onto the bed. Perplexed the father enquired, “If you already had money, why did you ask me for more?”

“Because I didn’t have enough, but now I do.” The little boy finished counting up all his money, and looked up at his father with great hope. Holding out the money to his father, he said, “Daddy, now I have twenty dollars; can I buy an hour of your time?”


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