“No road is too long for him who advances slowly and does not hurry, and no attainment is beyond his reach who equips himself with patience to achieve it.”
– Jean de La Bruyere
Once upon a time, there was a little girl.
This little girl wanted to go to Space Camp. She was a persistent child and nagged father incessantly. “When can I go, Dad?” ”
When can I go, Dad?” The chorus steadily grew in intensity until one day father had had enough.
“You would like to go to Space Camp. However, I have very little money,” said father. “Therefore, you will need to pay your own way. It will cost you $1000. In fact, I will take you anywhere in the country if you save up $1000. Do you still want to go?”
The little girl hesitated. By this time, her sister and brother came in the room. Father repeated his offer to them.
“How can I earn money, father?” the little girl asked with her sister and brother looking on.
Father, not prepared for such a question looked around. “You can do the dishes every night this week and I will pay you $20.”
The little girl pondered this. “Ok.” she said. Her sister and brother looked at her in amazement.
The little girl took up father’s challenge and diligently did the dishes every night that week. And the next. And the next. There were some weeks when she did a good job and other weeks which weren’t so good. She occasionally took a week off but always came back to it until one particular evening many weeks later.
“Can I quit?” the little girl asked father.
“Sure,” father replied. “but you won’t get to go on your trip. Success in life doesn’t have much to do with skill and talent. It takes persistence.” Father likes to lecture.
The little girl kept at it.
Finally, after one year the little girl had saved up nearly $700. She was tired of doing dishes. She wanted to quit. Father understood how hard it was for a ten year old girl to do something for so long. He empathized but he also understood the value of reaching a goal.
He told the little girl, “You’ve worked hard for a year. People who work hard have more opportunities than those that don’t. Sometimes those opportunities are unexpected. Therefore, I will offer you an unexpected opportunity. If you can finish your goal and earn $750, instead of $1000, I will give you your trip.”
The little girl was once again motivated. She did dishes for a few more weeks and finally earned the extra $50.
Looking with pride on his daughter, father asked, “Well, now. You’ve worked hard. A promise is a promise. Where would you like to go?”
“Washington D.C.” the little girl answered.
“Not Hawaii or Alaska?” queried father.
“Nope. My friend went to Washington D.C. and said it was cool. That’s where I want to go.” the little girl said excitedly.
It was settled. The reservations were made. The plans were set. A week would be spent in the nation’s capital. And today, during Spring Break 2012, the little girl (now 12 years old) and her father boarded a plane.
Destination – Washington D.C.
That’s the story as best I remember it. Congratulations to my daughter Tessa for persisting. It is my pleasure to give you a week of my time. I hope this trip gives you memories that you will cherish for a lifetime.