Let me tell you a story about two families – the Benjamins and the Hopefuls. The Benjamins were a very wealthy family. They had two sons Sam and Samuel both of whom attended private school. Mr. and Mrs. Benjamin spent all of their time working and had little time to spend with their children. Their sons were usually left in the care of their nanny Elsa. She was an old woman who was always very nice and kind to them.
Mr. Benjamin learnt from an early age that he had to work hard for what he wanted and he honestly believed that the sacrifice he was making would spare his sons the tough lessons he had to learn growing up.
He was proud of his accomplishments and his sons but he would never tell them. Instead, whenever Mr. Benjamin and his sons would cross paths in the hallway of their home he would always stop them and say, “Everything I’m doing, is for you” and they would always shake their heads and answer, “Yes, father. We understand“. Then they would all continue on their way to wherever they were going as they would try to stay out of each other’s way.
The truth is, Sam and Samuel didn’t understand. In fact, the more time that passed the more resentful they became. They did not understand why having money and riches didn’t make them happy.
The Hopefuls on the other hand, were simple people. They were crop farmers and owned a modest piece of agricultural land. They had twins a boy and a girl, Adam and Angelina. Mr. and Mrs. Hopeful were hard-working, kind and humble people. They were not rich in material things but found value in each other. They made the most of everything they had and always believed in teaching their children about the value of a dollar, good manners, responsibility, life skills, independence, respect, integrity, gratitude and forgiveness.
Mr. Hopeful was a very serious man but when it came to his children his heart would melt like butter. He would play with them in the field, go swimming and even take them hunting. He treated his children equally. Mrs. Hopeful would help them with their homework and would encourage them to assist with the chores around the house. At bedtime she would read to them and kiss them on their foreheads. Before she would leave the room she would always say to them, “It does not matter where you start in this race called life; all that matters is how you finish.”
Adam and Angelina were always well-behaved and well-mannered. They knew their parents loved them. Even though they did not have all of the things the other children had they never felt as though they lacked anything. They always supported and looked out for each other.
As time went by the children in both families grew up and eventually took over the respective businesses their parents had left them. Mr. Benjamin eventually died from a heart-attack. Mrs. Benjamin died from a broken heart soon after. It seems the death of her husband was too much for her. Mr. and Mrs. Hopeful unfortunately died in a car accident later that year.
Sam and Samuel could not cope with the death of their parents. They felt alone and did not feel they were equipped to run the family business. Sam, the younger of the two started doing drugs and hanging out with the wrong people while Samuel turned to drinking and gambling. Needless to say, the once respected Benjamin name within two years had crumbled to nothing. The banks seized all of their properties and they had to file for bankruptcy. Sam was eventually imprisoned for drug possession and Samuel died in a car accident. The pressures of life seemed too much.
Adam and Angelina both missed their parents terribly but knew they had each other. They stuck together and worked hard to build and grow the family business. They had done so well that they were featured in the town’s newspaper. They eventually expanded and opened ‘The Hopeful’s Vegetables and Poultry Market’. All the lessons they had learnt as children growing up had prepared them for life.
Their once modest agricultural land had expanded into two and a half acres. As they sat on the porch looking at the beautiful sunset and all the blessings they had received they could not help but remember those words their mother would recite to them before bed, “It does not matter where you start in this race called life; all that matters is how you finish.”
This was my first short story. Hope you enjoyed it. 🙂