“Bobby came into the kitchen one evening while his mother was fixing dinner and handed her a sheet of paper he had been writing on. After drying her hands, she read it. This is what it said:
For taking out the garbage, 25 cents.
For setting the table, 25 cents.
For sweeping the garage, 50 cents.
For raking leaves, $2.
For cleaning my room, $2.
For baby sitting, $5.
For getting a good report card, $10.
Mother owes Bobby: $20.
Mother looked at Bobby as he stood there, smiled and said nothing. The next day when he arrived home from school she handed him the sheet of paper. On the back she had written:
For giving you birth , $0.
For changing your diapers, $0.
For washing your clothes, $0.
For cooking your meals, $0.
For helping with homework, $0. For reading bedtime stories, $0. For caring for you when you were sick, $0.
For kissing your hurts and making you well, $0.
For washing your face and combing your hair, $0.
Bobby owes mother: $0.
When Bobby finished reading what his mother had written, there were big tears in his eyes. He looked up at his mother and said, “I love you, Mom.”
Then, taking his pen he wrote in big letters: “PAID IN FULL.”
“I do not ask that you repay
The hours of toil and pain.
The sacrifice of youth and strength
Shall not have been in vain.
I do not ask for gratitude
But only this, my child,
That you shall live your life so well
My gifts be not defiled.”
Rev. Nichols is Minister Emeritus of First Christian Church, Temple, where he was senior minister for 23 years. He writes a religious column for several newspapers.