Don’t be fooled by the apparent humour of the anecdote below. I’ve had it in my archives for years, and last night, while cleaning up my files, I found this gem again.
Enjoy the laugh for the moment, but stop to think carefully about the message. The best of intentions can go horribly wrong if you are not sensitive to the needs of others and a breakdown in communication ensues.
Four brothers left home for college, and they became successful doctors and lawyers, and prospered. Some years later, they chatted after having dinner together. They discussed the gifts they were able to give their elderly mother who lived far away in another city.
The First Brother said, “I had a big house built for Mama.”
The Second Brother said, “I had a hundred thousand dollar theater built in the house.”
The Third Brother said, “I had my Mercedes dealer deliver an SL600 to her.”
The Fourth Brother said, “You know how Mama loved reading the Bible and you know she can’t read anymore because she can’t see very well. I met this preacher who told me about a parrot that can recite the entire Bible. It took twenty preachers 12 years to teach him. I had to pledge to contribute $100,000 a year for twenty years to the church, but it was worth it. Mama just has to name the chapter and verse and the parrot will recite it.”
The other brothers were impressed.
After the holidays, Mom sent out her “Thank You” notes. She wrote:
“Milton, the house you built is so huge I live in only one room, but I have to clean the whole house.
“Marvin, I am too old to travel. I stay home. I have my groceries delivered, so I never use the Mercedes.
The thought was good.
“Michael, you gave me an expensive theater with Dolby sound, it could hold 50 people, but all of my friends are dead, I’ve lost my hearing and I’m nearly blind. I’ll never use it.
Thank you for the gesture just the same.”
Dearest Bob, you were the only son to have the good sense to give a little thought to your gift.
The chicken was delicious.