There is a childrenís fable thatís long been told,
of a young boy about twelve to fourteen years old.
The boy and his mother lived in the country,
struggling to get by because of their poverty.
And then one day the mother said, "Son, we have to sell our cow.
Sheís our last hope, so get a good price. You better leave now.
Be sure to watch out as you travel along your way,
that criminals donít come and try to steal her away.
Remember I love you and be careful of the decisions you make.
Our future is in your hands and everything is at stake."
So on his way he went with the rope held tightly in his hand.
He was going to take care of his mother by sticking to her plan.
But as he traveled toward town, a dark stranger appeared from about,
"Where are you going with that old cow, maybe I can help you out?"
"Iím going to town. We need to sell our cow for money," he said.
"Money, mere money? Well Iíve got something better instead.
If youíre looking for something of value; that will afford you great means,
then you need to trade that old cow for this bag of magic beans.
Theyíll do whatever you want. Youíll have great wealth and prosperity.
Never more will you live a life of meagerness, want or poverty."
The young boy made the trade and was proud of his decision indeed,
thinking he could not be fooled about knowing his familyís needs.
But when he got home and told his mother, much to his saddened surprise,
after telling her what he did, he saw tears well up in her eyes.
Because a devil, dressed like a man who convinced her son he cared,
had now knowingly left them in sadness and great despair.
After reading the story, I laughed at the boy and then I began to jeer,
"What a fool, trading for beans with something that was so dear."
And then I began to look more closely at what I myself had done.
Now seeing I wasnít so different from this young foolish one.
For I too had spent time chasing dreams of fame, fortune and wealth,
convinced I was doing the best for our needs, our future and our health.
My wife had decided to go to work as well; I bringing two incomes in.
Why, there was no doubt in our minds that we would financially win.
But after a few years it became obvious what a mistake we had made.
That like the boy in the story, we had made a foolish trade.
We too had listened to a dark stranger who had stood along the way,
convincing us that our family would be fine and leading us astray.
For while our children had been growing up and experiencing many things,
we had traded our time with them for those foolish magic beans.
So donít be fooled by all the nice things in life. Theyíre not yours to keep.
If you spend too much time with money, youíll have plenty of time to weep.
Youíll miss the joy of being together and your family will fall apart.
And when this life is over, youíll have is a sad and broken heart.