A Reminder to Appreciate What You Have

appreciation story

A young professional applies for a managerial position within a large firm.

She passed the first interview with flying colors. It would be the division director who made the final interview and decision.

From the transcripts, it was clear that the academic achievements were out of this world.

The director inquired, “Did you receive scholarships while you were in school?”

“None,” was the reply.

“Was it your father who paid for your tuition?” the director asked.

“My father passed away when I was a baby. My mom paid for my tuition.”

“I see,” the director said. “Where did your mom work?”

“She cleaned clothes.”

“Show me your hands,” the director stated. The youth showed her hands – they were perfectly smooth.

The director then asked, “Did you ever help your mom with her work?”

“No, she never let me. She only wanted me to study. Besides, she could always wash the clothes faster than I could.”

The director leaned back in her chair. “I have a small request. When you return, clean your mom’s hands and then come back here tomorrow morning.”

Sensing the chance of getting the job was now elevated, she quickly ran home and asked if she could wash her mom’s hands. With great hesitation, she held out her hands.

Slowly, the youth cleaned her mom’s hands. As she slowly brought the water and soap, tears began to well up in her eyes. She had never noticed how worn and bruised her mom’s hands were. She tried to not wince from the pain as the young one gently washed and massaged her worn hands.

For the first time, the daughter realized it was the pair of hands she held with her own that paid for years and years of schooling. The bruises and cuts were the price of graduation, excellence in academics and a promising future.

After finishing, the daughter graciously finished washing the remaining dirty clothes for her mom.

That very night, for the first time, mother and daughter had a long and wonderful talk.

The next morning, the professional returned to the director’s office with tears in her eyes.

The director asked, “Would you like to tell me what your evening was like? What did you learn?”

The applicant answered, “I cleaned my mom’s hands and finished doing the laundry for her.”

The director smiled, “And how did this make you feel?”

“Well, first, I feel appreciative. Without my mom, there would not be a discussion today. Secondly, I only now realize how hard her job was – how challenging it was to get something done. And third, I have finally come to appreciate the value of my relationship with my family.”

The director smiled again and said, “That’s excellent news – that is exactly what I am seeking in a manger. I want to have someone who appreciates the help of those around her, understands the price others pay to achieve success and one whose primary goal is not money. Congratulations. You got the job.”

Years later, it was noted how hard the young professional worked and how much respect she received from her subordinates. Each teammate worked diligently as a team and the company’s overall performance improved abundantly.

Moral: You can provide your kid with every material convenience money can buy. But when you are cutting the grass – let them experience it. After mealtime, let them wash the dishes. Around the home, let them clean the bathrooms and understand that “things don’t just happen” on their own. It is also important to help them learn to appreciate working with others to get things done – there is no ‘I’ in team.

By Hannah Jones

Hannah is a Manchester based writer who has spent many years studying and working in the field of journalism and psychology. Hannah enjoys swimming, meditation and dog walking. Her favourite quote is, 'If it doesn't challenge you, it doesn't change you.'