The Parable of Sixteen Cents

There was a young bride who married the love of her childhood days. He was an ambitious and hard-working fellow who would someday be a rich man.

The groom recognized the good sense and skills of his wife, and so he entrusted full management of the household to her. This included taking care of their finances, which was particularly important because, as they were just getting their start in life, there was no money for anything but the essentials.

Within a few years, the couple had three daughters, and the woman was very determined to raise up the girls in the way they should go. Early on, she tasked her little ones with jobs around the house, teaching them to clean and cook, iron and sew. The girls wondered at their mother’s magic crock, able to turn cucumbers into pickles, and why the house smelled so odd during the transformation. They stood in awe of the mother’s beauty on the occasions when she would put on make-up and a fine dress with matching shoes to go out for the evening with their father.

When the children were old enough to be helpful in their chores, and were ready to learn the lessons of handling money, the mother began paying them an allowance. On Saturdays, with the completion of the week’s work, each girl received three coins from her mother: a dime, a nickel, a penny. Sixteen cents. Each coin was given with an intended use:
- the dime was to be spent on whatever the child chose for herself
- the nickel was to be placed in the offering plate at church the following morning
- the penny was to be saved.

For several years, the allowance did not increase. In fact, these parents spent very little in paying their children for work contributed to the family. As the girls grew and became skilled themselves, they went outside their home to earn more money…taking care of younger children in the neighborhood while parents were away, cleaning houses, delivering important papers. They learned to manage the money they were paid, and they learned to give back.

Of course the mother grew older, and her daughters became women themselves, starting families and continuing the lessons taught to them. All those nickels they had received and then given away had made an impact. For the oldest daughter became very generous with both her money and her time, giving to others at every turn, particularly of her labors in the kitchen. The second daughter continued her strong ties to the church, tithing 10% without fail and – sensing the call – becoming formally trained and serving as an agent for change as regards women’s role in ministry. The youngest daughter and her husband together committed that, regardless of income or circumstance, their goal for each year of their lives would be to give more money to others than they had given the previous year.

And the girls and their families enjoyed wealth beyond measure, and their lives were an honor to their mother and father. And the family grew in its prosperity throughout the generations.

This parable is shared in tribute to my mom, Phyllis Jaynes (1939-2004), who raised her daughters and son with the wisdom that we value only what we know, and know only what we are taught.

Strong Leaders / Strong Stories

Strong leaders have strong stories, and a solid sense of "self" as a leader.  But too often, even strong women view themselves or are perceived as being very good at "getting things done," but not as valuable strategic resources. What can you do to change this?  Find Out More Here