(Excerpt from Conversations with an Oaktree)
“I don’t need any money. In fact, I don’t want to be rich; I don’t want to be like some people who live in their greed while others don’t have any food to eat,” – Said Sophia.
“Oh my, it seems so noble of you, “- Mother Oak reply.
Yes, it is, thought Sophia. But she didn’t want to appear conceded and replied softly, “It’s just the right thing to do.”
“Some things are not what they appear to be,”- said Mother Oak. “Allow me to tell you a story. I believe you could learn a thing or two about money.“
“I don’t need to know about money.” Sophia got up, brushed off the dirt from her bottom, and thought to herself: I don’t need any more aggravation in my life. One greed person in the family is one too many.
“Let me tell you anyway. You know? You are not your uncle.“
“How do you know my uncle?“
“I don’t know him. I just responded to your thoughts.”
“You can read my mind.” Said Sophia, half annoyed and half surprised.
“Only the thoughts you share with me.“
“I didn’t tell you about my uncle.“
“You thought about him, and I picked it up because it’s relevant to the story you need to hear.“
“Fine!” Sophia slashed herself back down again.
“Once there was a young boy who finished his schooling and was… let’s say, procrastinating to find a job. He would sleep in when the father went to work. His mother would try to get him up early and share the stores that could employ him, but he would kiss his mother on the forehead and tell her that she was still a doll and then go out to see his friends until evening.
Every Friday, the son would ask his father for money and promise that he would look for a job the next very Monday.
After many unemployed Mondays, the father grew tired of his son’s excuses and set a date to take him into the city to find a job.
On the day of the trip to the city, the father decided to teach his son a lesson.
Son – said the father – for the past six months, you gave me all excuses for not having a job and asked me for money every week. It’s a disgrace that you don’t respect your family and live like an irresponsible panhandler. Don’t you feel ashamed? There is no difference between you and that man asking for pennies at the traffic light.
You come from a line of good working people,- continued the father. Your grandfather was a fisherman, a very successful one. When he began to earn money, my grandfather didn’t have to tell him to find a job. He began fishing at the river and quickly realized he needed to be fishing in the ocean. Then he saw a man fishing for lobsters with traps and earning good money. He befriended the fellow and learned about traps. The man helped your grandfather by selling four of his traps for $100. It was a month’s rent back then. Your grandpa didn’t have enough money to pay him. So they agreed that grandpa would make payments of $10 for 12 weeks. The two extra weeks was the interest. Your grandpa had to work hard to earn the pay for the traps and some more to support himself and his family.
Some weeks the money was very tight, but he made the full payment in 12 weeks. After that, he felt free and rich. Grampa even bought more traps and grew the business. One time he found a trap in the garbage that brought him hundreds of dollars.
The son stayed silent for the entire time. He wanted to talk, but he felt it was best to be quiet. He gazed at the rocks on the floor and nodded once in a while, wondering when the family history lesson would be over. That was not the first time his dad lectured him about how great their family did in the past and what a disgrace he had become.
After the long lecture, the father told the son to walk to the train station and reflect on the father’s story. “When we ride the train together, said the father – I want you to tell me what you learned from the grandpa’s story and what you will do differently starting today.
The father drove to the train station, and the son sat for a while on the shadows of his father’s exhaust pipe. He was not looking forward to riding the train together. When he finally began walking to the train station, he felt each step to be like heavy chains holding him back. Climbing Mountain Everest would be more comfortable than walking to meet someone else’s expectations.
On the way, he saw a homeless man digging through the garbage and find a tire trim that looked to be in mint condition. The son’s eyes met the man, and they engaged in a silent conversation as each nodded their heads to a friendly greet. Both seemed to be walking in the same direction.
Today is my lucky day. – said the homeless man. I am going to make $50
How come? Asked the son, just to be polite.
I found this great trim, and when I sell it, I will make $50. This is what I make in one week.
The young man continued to walk with the homeless, who went on and on about the treasures people throw away in the garbage and how anyone could make good money.
When they stopped, the homeless went into a store to sell his treasure trim. The young boy stayed outside, doubting the homeless excitement until he came out with a crispy $50 bill and said:
Stick with me, son, and I will show you how to make money. You won’t have to ask anyone for money ever again.
Instead of going to the train station to meet his father, the son followed the homeless, who was showing him the good garbage to dig in.
And that’s how the son learned the lesson from his father and never asked anyone for money ever again. He dug into people’s garbage seven days a week.
So tell me– said Mother Oak to Sophia- What do you think of my money story? Do you think the son found a way to not ask for money?
Did the son become homeless? Asked Sophia in an irritated tone.
Being homeless is irrelevant to the story, Sophia. My question to you is, you said you didn’t need money, but you either ask or work for it. Yes, you could steal it, but mothers would disapprove of it. Which one would you do? Would you ask or work for money?
I guess I would work for it, but not digging into the garbage– said Sophia.
Ahh, so you do need money after all. Mother Oak smiled.
Money is energy, Sophia. It’s not the paper with the assigned value that you keep in your banks. It’s what you do with it. Everyone needs that energy. The son grew tired of being ashamed and bought freedom by digging into the garbage. He learned the lesson his father taught him.
I don’t think that digging into the garbage was the moral of the story the father intended to teach him – said Sophia.
I agree. But everyone relates to money in different ways -said Mother Oak.
The amount of money you desire is personal. If you have too much or not enough is your choice. If you work or ask for it, it is part of your relationship with money. Money can be manifested in the ocean, trees, garbage, or banks. Money is like rain. It will always come, and it depends on where you look.
A master once said, don’t give them the fish; teach them how to fish. But we forget that more than half of the people will end up selling the fishing rods for pennies on the dollar because their hearts don’t sing when they fish. There are oceans of money everywhere. You must know where to look with your heart.
I don’t get it! How is money coming from the ocean for people who don’t like to fish?
Ahh, now you are following me. To fish or not to fish? That’s the oldest question in the world. I hate to tell you that everyone fishes in their own way. Many of them fish in the wrong ocean, with the wrong rod setting the wrong bait. To ask for money is to fish with the wrong rod. You may get some fish sometimes, but is it the relationship you want with money?
Please don’t judge the boy for finding money in the garbage. Also, don’t chase your uncle away for wanting more money. There is much to learn about money. One thing I know for sure, everyone needs money. And if you say that you don’t want any, the energy of money will have nothing to do with you.
So, how do you intend to fish, Sophia? Do you happen to have a fishing rod?