Sometimes the demands of our working lives becomes overbearing and makes us forget what truly matters. Isn’t it? Just read this story to find out.
An office worker named Ramesh came home from his demanding job at a late hour, feeling very tired. All he wanted to do is rest from the grueling day; but on going inside the home he finds his 7-year-old son, Gopal, waiting for him. Ramesh sees the look in Gopal’s eyes and knows that his son wants his attention – but he just does not have the energy.
Gopal says to his father "Daddy, may I ask you a question." Ramesh parries this as he is feeling very thirsty after a long journey home, "Hold on, I want to get a drink" but his son ignores this and asks "Dad, how much money do you make in an hour?"
Ramesh feels rather put out at this strange question and answers gruffly, "That's none of your business. Why do you ask such a thing?" But Gopal is not to be put off and continues "I just want to know. Please tell me, how much do you make an hour?"
Ramesh manages a quick answer between gulping down some water, "I make Rs. 500 an hour."
"Oh", the little boy replies, with his head down. Looking up, he says, "Dad, may I please borrow Rs. 300?"
Ramesh becomes irritated at this untimely request when all he wants to do is put his feet up and watch TV, "I told you so many times that we are not going to have a dog and 500 rupees is far too less to buy one anyway – now get to bed! Why are you being so selfish? Do you think I have time to walk a dog when I am working so hard to keep everything going?” Gopal is a little shaken at his father’s outburst and so goes to his room and has a little cry.
Ramesh sits down, relaxes and watches TV and gradually gets into a better mood. After about an hour or so, he feels calmer and a little guilty as he turns to thinking about his son "Maybe there was something he really needed to buy with that Rs. 300 - and he really does not ask for money very often!"
So he goes to the door of the boy's room and asks "Are
you asleep Gopal?"
"No Daddy, I'm awake." He goes in and says,
”Hey look, I was feeling so tired from work and I should not have shouted at you. What do you need that 300 rupees for?”
Gopal sits up from bed and smiles at his father "Oh thank you dad!" Then, reaching under his pillow he pulls out some crumpled up notes. "Why do you want money if you already have some?" the father grumbles wondering what this is all about and wanting to go back to his TV.
The son slowly counts out his money and then, looks up at his father "Because I didn't have enough, but now I do. Daddy, I now have Rs. 500. Can I buy an hour of your time? Please come home early tomorrow because I want to have dinner with you."
Ramesh feels a stab in his heart and tears come to his eyes. He thinks of all the time he gives to his work – but how much to his little boy - and when was the last time they had a family meal.
“Gopal” he says feeling moved, “Tomorrow, when I come home we will have dinner together, me, your Mother and you. And yes, we can talk about getting that dog as well.”
This story is just a short reminder to all of us working so hard in life. We
should not let time slip through our fingers without having spent some
quality time with those who really matter to us, those close to our hearts.
If we die tomorrow, the company that we are working for could easily
replace us in a matter of days. But the family and friends that we leave behind will feel the loss for the rest of their lives.
Swami tells us,
"Parents must learn how to love their children. Whenever they go astray parents should immediately correct their faults. Parents today lavish too much affection on their children. Affection alone is not enough. There should be control over the children as well. There should be both love and law; only then will the love prove beneficial. The obligations of parents do not end with providing food, schooling and the knowledge of worldly matters. The children should also be provided with right values." (Gems of Wisdom, p. 215)
"The father must encourage the son more by example than by precept." (Gems of Wisdom, p. 213)
Illustrations: Vamsi Aditya, SSSIHL