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The story that follows was sent to me by a friend who has shared great wisdom and beauty with me, and this story is no exception. She sent it to me by email, and I do not know the origin of the story, but I felt its worth and wisdom in the way it touched my heart, and wanted to share it with you.

In sharing it I wish to thank both my parents. My parents have both been wonderful role models of courage, compassion and creativity. They have supported me on so many levels, made me feel so safe and secure that I have taken to this adventure that is ‘life’ with a great sense of confidence, freedom and belief. Reading this story made me realise that I too slip into taking them and their hard work for granted, and with humility and much love I wish to thank them, and hope the times I forget what they have done for me will be less, and the times when I will thank and celebrate them will be more.  Enjoy:-)

For my father, who washed my hands in his when I was a child.

For my mother whose hands are like mine, short fingered and strong, and which have sewn and knitted more beautiful clothes for me than any wardrobe could hold.

For my grandmother, whose feet I washed with my own hands when she could no longer bend to reach them.

For my grandfather, whose hands held books with as much wonder and awe as my own do.

I love you all. Enjoy the story…

A young man went to apply for a managerial position in a big company. He passed the initial interview, and would now meet the director for the final interview.


The director discovered from his CV that the youth’s academic achievements were excellent. He asked, “Did you obtain any scholarships in school?”


The youth answered “No”.


“Was it your father who paid for your school fees?”


“My father passed away when I was one year old. It was my mother who paid for my school fees” he replied.


” Where did your mother work?”


“My mother worked as a clothes cleaner.”


The director asked the youth to show him his hands. The youth showed a pair of hands that were smooth and perfect.


“Have you ever helped your mother wash the clothes before?”


“Never, my mother always wanted me to study and read more books. Besides, my mother can wash clothes faster than me.”


The director said, “I have a request. When you go home today, go and wash your mother’s hands, and then see me tomorrow morning.”


The youth felt that his chance of landing the job was high. When he went back home, he asked his mother to let him wash her hands. His mother felt strange, happy but with mixed feelings, as she showed her hands to her son.


The youth cleaned his mother’s hands slowly. Tears fell as he did so. It was the first time he had noticed that his mother’s hands were so wrinkled, and there were so many bruises in her hands. Some bruises were so painful that his mother winced when he touched them.


This was the first time the youth realised that it was this pair of hands that had washed the clothes everyday to enable him to pay the school fees. The bruises in the mother’s hands were the price that his mother had had to pay for his education, his school activities and his future.


After cleaning his mother hands, the youth quietly washed all the remaining clothes for his mother.


That night, mother and son talked for a very long time.


Next morning, the youth went to the director’s office.


The Director noticed the tears in the youth’s eyes, when he asked: “Can you tell me what you did and learned yesterday in your house?”


The youth answered, “I cleaned my mother’s hands, and also finished cleaning all the remaining clothes.


“I know now what appreciation is. Without my mother, I would not be who I am today. By helping my mother, only now do I realize how difficult and tough it is to get something done on your own. And I have come to appreciate the importance and value of helping one’s family.”


The director said, “This is what I am looking for in a manager. I want to recruit a person who can appreciate the help of others, a person who knows the sufferings of others to get things done, and a person who would not put money as his only goal in life. You are hired.”