There was a boy who lived in a village several years ago. His father had died, and the family was very poor. One day, one of the other children at the village school stole the only notebook that he had. Feeling sad and angry, the boy was passing by a stall selling fruit on the way home when he saw that no one was around. Looking up at the stall, he saw a fruit that he particularly liked, but which his family now could not afford. Looking around to make sure that no one could see what he was about to do, he quickly reached up and took one of the fruits that he had been longing to eat.
When he got home, his mother saw him with the fruit. What would you have done if you were the mother? Ask him where he got the fruit from, right? Well, she didn’t. Instead, she smiled at him and asked him how his day at school had been. She never asked him about where he had gotten the fruit, or which kind soul had perhaps given it to him. The boy happily ate the fruit as part of his dinner, sharing some of it with his mother.
The next day, the boy stole a pencil from one of his schoolmates. His mother said nothing. Then, he stole a notebook. Pretty soon, he was threatening the other children with violence if they did not give him whatever he asked for. His mother never asked him where he got all those things from.
Soon, he was expelled from the school. He joined a gang and operated around his village for a while, but soon, he left home. Moving around from state to state, he became one of the most feared gang leaders as the years passed. However, he always did one thing. He always came back to the village to give his mother things that she needed. His mother never asked him where he had gotten those things from. No one dared to question his mother, for fear of reprisals from the former village boy.
One day, he was arrested and sentenced to hang for all his crimes. The authorities decided on a public hanging, in order to make an example of him. The news went round, and on the morning of the hanging, a huge crowd had gathered at the village square, where a special gallows had been erected.
When the former village boy was brought to the gallows to be hanged, he was asked if he had any last wish. Standing on the platform, he looked up and said that he wanted his mother to come up to the platform, as he wished to bid her farewell. The crowd let out a deep breath, perhaps with a little sympathy, understanding that, surely, it was a reasonable last wish. They forgot that it was a last wish many of his victims never had. The call for his mother rang out, and a frail old woman was seen being helped up to the platform. The former village boy asked that his hands be untied and tied at the front, as he wanted to give his mother a last embrace. The village chief ordered that it be done, and a hush fell as the crowd observed him hugging his mother.
Suddenly, there was a commotion on the platform. The former village boy’s mother could be seen struggling to break free. Three men helped her, and as she broke free, blood was seen spurting from where her nose had been! The former village boy’s mother was helped off the platform quickly, while they tried to stop the bleeding. The crowd cried out in shock and indignation, demanding to know why he had done this!
The former village boy looked at his mother and said “When I was little, I stole things and then I started to rob other people. Not once did you ever stop me or tell me that what I was doing was wrong! You let me go down this path to hell, and not only did you not stop me and turn me away from it, you actually enjoyed the goods and the money that I brought to you so often! You could have turned me away from this path, but you didn’t! And today, I am going to hang because of you!” With that, he turned back to the noose and the hanging was carried out with no further delay.
Are there people around you, for whom you are responsible, that depend on you for encouragement to do what is right? Are there people around you, for whom you are responsible, that need you to turn them away from wrongdoing, from harming themselves and others? Are you being responsible in how you lead them?
Ponder this, and take action, before any of your constituents, or your family members, go down the path of that little village boy. And may you never have the experience of the mother. Encourage someone to do what is right today! And be bold to right the wrongs that you see!