Written, Audio and Video from Dr Demartini
What Would You Prefer… to be Supported or Challenged?
By Dr John Demartini
When I was a young boy (age nine) I desired to have my own bicycle. I asked my father if he would buy me a blue colored bike just like the ones some of my friends had. Since their fathers bought them their bikes I just assumed and expected my father to do the same. But he told me very clearly and calmly that he would not buy me such a bike. He told me that I could certainly earn the money for one if I was willing to patiently work for it. He then explained to me that I would take care of and appreciate my bike more if I earned the necessary money for it and bought it myself. I asked him if he meant by shining his shoes every day and by keeping my room clean and the yard mowed and edged. He said, “These chores are the normal expected duties for your weekly allowance and that you would have to either get a job throwing papers or some other job around the neighborhood to earn the extra money for your bike.”
Though part of me was disappointed by his comments, another part of me was excited about the prospect of doing yard work for the neighbors and getting paid for it. The next day I walked down the street going home to home ringing door bells and asking the neighbors if they would like their yards mowed and edged, their flower beds weeded or anything else around the house done? Some of them replied, “yes”. I negotiated a price of five, seven or nine dollars depending on the size of their lots to mow, edge, rake and sweep and ten to twenty dollars to weed depending on the size of their flower beds. I was exhilarated and immediately began to go to work. The whole time I kept imagining me riding my new bicycle.
I serviced three yards that first day and when I collected the money and went home I felt excited. But when my dad came home that evening and I told him what I had done and how much I had earned, he said, “Great son, I am very proud of you. When you truly desire something and you are willing to work for it magical opportunities begin to take place. But there is still one small detail you might have forgotten and that is the rental and depreciation costs on the equipment you borrowed.” He then told me, “That in order to compensate him for the equipment and gasoline used that I would have to pay him 50 cents a day for the mower, 25 cents a day for the edger, 25 cents a day for the rake, broom, clippers and gloves and 25 cents a gallon for all the gasoline I consumed.”
I was a little set back and flattened by these new added responsibilities but I could see that it made sense to do so. So the next day I factored in my new costs and went once again throughout the neighborhood. This time I earned 22 dollars net profit, but I certainly worked extra hard. Luckily some of my friends noticed me taking care of some the local yards and asked if they could help and make some extra money too. Soon I had a crew of friends helping me do the yards in an assembly line format. I paid them a small to moderate portion of the total for their efforts and still netted a decent return for all my marketing and entrepreneurial efforts. It only took a week and a half for me to be able to buy the bicycle I had dreamed of. Soon I also bought the glove, baseball, bat, football, golf set and basketball, etc. that I desired.
Thank you dad for helping me set realistic expectations and not robbing me of the opportunity to be creative and resourceful. Sometimes when people try to go out of their way to be so-called generous and supportive they end up spoiling someone, and their generosity leads to false expectancy and dependency. A true balance of challenge and support as my father provided me can go a long way. I am certainly grateful for my father’s lesson in self-reliance today.
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