Wednesday, April 15, 2015

A YOUNG, academically-excellent person applied for a managerial position in a big company. He passed the first interview. The managing director conducted the last interview and made the final decision.

He discovered from the candidate’s CV that his academic achievements were excellent all the way from secondary school to postgraduate research and never did a year pass that he not score the highest marks.

The director asked: “Did you obtain any scholarships in school?”

The youth answered, “None”.

The director asked: “Was it your father who paid your school fees?”

The youth answered: “My father passed away when I was a year old; it was my mother who paid all my school fees.”

The director asked: “Where did your mother work?”

The youth answered: “My mother works as a washer of clothes.”

The director requested the youth to show him his hands. The youth showed a pair of hands that were smooth and perfect.

The director asked: “Have you ever helped your mother wash clothes?”

The youth answered: “Never. My mother always wanted me to study and read more books. Furthermore, my mother can wash clothes faster than me.”

The director said: “I have a request. When you go back today, go and clean your mother’s hands and then see me tomorrow morning.”

The youth felt that his chances of landing the job were high. When he went back, he happily requested his mother to let him clean her hands. His mother felt strange, happy but, with mixed feelings, she showed her hands to her son. The youth cleaned his mother’s hands slowly. His tears fell as he did that. It was the first time he noticed that his mother’s hands were so wrinkled, and there were so many cuts and bruises to her hands. Some were so painful that his mother shivered when they were cleaned with water.

This was the first time the youth realised that it was this pair of hands that washed other people’s clothes every day and had enabled him to pay his school fees. The bruising on his mother’s hands was the price that she was paying for his graduation, academic excellence and his future.

After cleaning his mother’s hands, the youth quietly washed all the remaining clothes for her. That night, mother and son talked for a very long time.

On the following morning the youth went to the director’s office. The director noticed the tears in the youth’s eyes and asked: “Please tell me what you did and what you learned yesterday?”

The youth answered: “I cleaned my mother’s hands and also washed all the remaining clothes.”

The director asked: “Please tell me what you felt.”

The youth said: “Number one, I know now what appreciation is. Without my mother, there would not be the successful me today. Number two, by working together and helping my mother, I now realise how difficult and tough it is to get something done. Number three, I have come to appreciate the importance and value of family relationships.”

The director said: “This is the kind of person I am looking for to be my manager. I want to recruit someone who can appreciate the help of others, a person who knows the sufferings of others to get things done, and a person who would not put money as his only goal in life. You are hired.”

Later on, this young person worked very hard and received the respect of his subordinates. Every employee worked diligently and as a team. The company grew from strength to strength.

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By Fr Paddy Byrne
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