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Volume 4  No 4

From the Library

What Bradley Owed
Adapted from Hugh T Kerr
Reproduced from The Moral Compass, Simon & Schuster

Home is where the first lessons are learned. And it is the place where much of what we do, we do for love. But love needs wisdom too, and wisdom certainly speaks louder than words. This article is especially for parents.

There once was a boy named Bradley. When he was about eight years old, he fell into the habit of thinking of everything in terms of money. He wanted to know the price of everything he saw, and if it didn't cost a great deal, it did not seem to him to be worth anything at all.

But there are a great many things money cannot buy. And some of them are the best things in the world.

One morning when Bradley came down to breakfast, he put a little piece of paper, neatly folded, on his mother's plate. His mother opened it, and she could hardly believe it, but this is what her son had written:

Mother owes Bradley:
For running errands $3
For taking out the rubbish $2
For sweeping the floor $2
Extras $1

Total that Mother owes Bradley $8

His mother smiled when she read that, but she did not say anything.

When lunchtime came she put the bill on Bradley's plate along with eight dollars. Bradley's eyes lit up when he saw the money. He stuffed it into his pocket as fast as he could and started dreaming about what he would buy with his reward.

All at once he saw another piece of paper besides his plate, neatly folded, just like the first one. When he opened it up, he found that it was a bill from his mother. It read:

Bradley owes Mother:
For being good to him nothing
For nursing him through his chicken pox nothing
For shirts and shoes and toys nothing
For his meals and beautiful room nothing

Total that Bradley owes Mother nothing


Bradley sat looking as this new bill, without saying a word. After a few minutes he got up, pulled the eight dollars out of his pocket, and placed them in his mother's hand.

And after that, he helped his mother for love.


Copyright 2002.Jen Chen Buddhism Centre