A Story of Appreciation


I should preface this post by saying that this is not my writing. I “stole” this from a friend (well he did say to share it), and whilst I have changed some of the English, neither the origins of the story… nor the moral are mine. Thanks Chris.


All to often in life, children are not brought up to appreciate the sacrifices of their parents or the stuggles of those around them. And this poignant story and its moral epitomise both.

And so for the story….

An academically gift young man went to apply for a managerial position with a big company.

Having passed through the job interview process, he was called in to meet the Director who would do the final interview and make the final decision as to whether the young man should be offered a job.

The Director discovered from the young man’s CV that his academic achievements were excellent. All the way from the secondary school right through to his postgraduate research, there was never a year when he did not score ‘A’s or honours.

The Director asked,
“Did you obtain any scholarships towards your education?”

The young man answered “None.”

The Director asked,
“Was it your father who paid for your education?”

The young man answered,
“My father passed away when I was one year old. It was my mother who paid for my education.”

The Director asked,
“Where did your mother work?”

The young man answered,
“My mother earned a living taking in laundry.”

The Director asked the young man to show him his hands.
The young man showed a pair of hands that were smooth and perfect.

The Director asked,
“Did you ever helped your mother wash the laundry before?”

The young man answered,
“Never. My mother always wanted me to study and read more books. And anyway, my mother can wash clothes faster than me.”

The Director said,
“I have a request. When you go back home today, go and wash your mother’s hands, and then came back and see me tomorrow morning.

The young man went home, feeling that his chance of landing the job was high. When he got home, he happily requested his mother to let him wash her hands. His mother felt happy but strange, and it was with mixed feelings that she showed her hands to her son.

The young man washed his mother’s hands slowly. His tear fell as he did that. It was the first time he had noticed that his mother’s hands were so wrinkled, and that there were so many cracks in her hands. Some cracks were so painful that his mother shivered when they were soaked with water.

It was the first time that the young man had realised that it was this pair of hands that had washed the laundry everyday, laundry that had paid for his education. The cracks in his mother’s hands were the price that she had had to pay for his graduation, academic excellence and his future.

After he had finished washing his mother’s hands, the young man quietly washed all of the remaining laundry for his mother.

That night, mother and son talked for a very long time.

Next morning, the young man went to the director’s office.

The Director noticed the tears in the young man’s eyes and asked:
“Can you tell me what have you did after leaving here yesterday?”

The young man answered,
“I washed my mother’s hand as you asked; and I then finished washing all the remaining laundry for my mother’

The Director asked,
“Please tell me how you felt.”

The young man said,

“Firstly, I now know what appreciation is. Without my mother, there would not have been the opportunity for me to be sitting here today.”

“Secondly, by working to help my mother, only now do I realize how difficult and tough it was for her to pay for my education.”

“Thirdly, I have come to appreciate the importance and value of my family.”

The Director said,
“This is what I am looking for in a person who is to be a manager in our company. I want to recruit a person who can appreciate the help of others, a person who knows the suffering others go through to get things done, and a person who would not put money as his only goal in life. You are hired.”

As time went on, this young man worked very hard, received the respect of his subordinates. Every employee worked diligently and as a team. And the company’s performance improved tremendously.

And the moral….

A child, who has been “protected” and habitually given whatever they want, will develop an “entitlement mentality” and will always tend to put themselves first.

They will be ignorant of their parent’s efforts.

When they start work, they will assume that everybody must listen to them. And when they become a manager, they will never know the sufferings of their employees and they will always tend to blame others for any failure or mistakes.

Whilst this kind of person may be brilliant academically, may be successful for a while, ultimately they will feel no sense of achievement.

They will grumble and be full of hatred and always expect more.

If parents are “protective” and “spoiling” of their children, are they really showing love? Or are they destroying the child instead?

You can let your children live in big houses, give them a driver and a car, let them eat expensive food, let them learn the piano or watch a big screen TV. But when you are cutting the grass, please let them experience that too. After a meal, make them wash their plates and bowls. And make them travel on the public bus and train. Not because you do not have money for a car or to hire a maid, but because you want to love them in the right way. You want them to understand, no matter how rich their parents are, one day their hair will grow grey, just the same as the mother of the young man in the story.

The most important thing is that your children learn how to appreciate the effort of others, experience the difficulty others might live with and learn the ability to work with others to get things done.

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