The other kids in the neighborhood had been watching from afar the whole time that Frank was building his business. They seemed a little interested, but never offered to help. One day when Frank had been very busy, he had asked if a few of them would help. He even offered to pay them so they could buy new toys too. They refused. They said work was for grown-ups, not kids, and their parents would get them gifts eventually, so they didn’t see the need to work.
When Frank took a day off from the stand to play with his toys several of the other kids from the neighborhood came over and asked if they could play too. He said, ‘sure,” and was happy to be playing with his friends. After a while Frank realized they weren’t letting him play with his own toy. They wanted to just keep playing and not give Frank a turn flying his new plane.
“You’ll have this all the time, we only get to play with this today,” one explained in a way that seemed almost angry. Frank tried to get his toy back but the other boys and girls wouldn’t let him, so he had to go get his mom and dad to help him get it back. After they came outside and took the controls from the children, they tried to explain that Frank had worked very hard to get the toy and deserved to play with it as much as he wanted to.
The other kids said, “That’s not fair. We don’t get a plane.”
“But Frank worked for this,” said Frank’s mom.
“So? He chose to do that on his own, that’s not our fault,” they would respond, “besides, we bought some of his stupid lemonade, so that means we should get to play with the toys too.”
“No,” said Mrs. Goode, “it does not. Any one of you children can do exactly what Frank did and earn a toy. Would you like to help my son with his stand?”
The kids all responded in a chorus, “NO!”
After the discussion the other kids left Frank alone. They were not happy about what had happened and did not seem like they ever had any intention of coming back to play. This made Frank sad, so he just packed up his toys and went back inside.
“What just happened outside? I don’t understand why they were so upset. I worked hard to get this plane. They saw me…they watched all the time and even bought some of my juice and liked it, but I worked for it. I did this,” Frank seemed almost to be arguing with himself as he spoke.
His father spoke up, not just to comfort him, but to educate. “Some people Frank, some people believe they are entitled to get things from others no matter how hard the other person has worked.”
“But what entitles them?” Frank asked, actually expecting an answer.
His father moved his hand forward and opened his mouth as if he was going to answer, but fell silent instead. It was a good question. What was it that made people feel they were entitled to get things they didn’t work for or pay for? What was it that made them feel ‘entitled?’ After a moment Mr. Goode pushed that thought aside and instead focused on another matter.
“Frank, you know how in church we sometimes put money in the plate?”
“Yes, sir,” the young boy politely responded.
“Well, some of that money goes to help operate the church, but most of it goes to help the less fortunate.”
“What are the less fortunate?” Frank had never heard that term so he wanted to understand.
“Well,” his father answered, “they are people who are disabled or whose lives haven’t been as easy as others.”
“You mean like us?” Frank asked, half pointing to himself.
“Well, not exactly. Your mother and I work and we make enough to get by. Sure, we will never be rich, but we are okay. I mean people like the Anderson boy who fell off the tree last summer and can’t walk anymore. Remember him?”
“Yes, I remember him. He loved planes just like I do. Where is he now?”
“He is in a special hospital for children with disabilities. His parents couldn’t afford to take care of him at home so he is finishing his recovery there.”
“I bet he would love my model plane,” said Frank, “I guess I could always buy another one. Would it be okay if we took him my new plane?”
“That is exactly what I am talking about,” Mr. Goode said. “Charity. It’s when we have something and we give it of our own free will to help another person who is in need. It’s the right thing to do.”
Frank nodded. He wanted to do the right thing, even if he had started his business to buy toys for himself.
Follow Frank’s business adventure from the beginning!