A man had five children. They often asked him to give them a share of his huge property. But the old man said, “Nothing doing. I will write a Will. You will get everything after I die. Do you think I will take anything with me?
Everyone knows that no one can take anything along after death. Even the great King Alexander could take nothing along. I am just an ordinary man. Don’t worry; you will all get your share.”
The children were disgruntled. Many a times they tried to persuade the father to reconsider, but the father was obstinate. He would not relent. Resultantly the children were disrespectful and non-caring at times.
One day he visited a friend’s farm. He saw a farm hand feeding fresh green fodder to the cows. Thereafter he milked the cows and brought in a huge container of milk. On the other hand, he saw that a litter of pigs were scurrying around. They were basically eating waste from here and there. Not much was being fed to them. Only the leftovers from the kitchen that no one wanted to eat were given to the pigs.
The man asked his farmer friend to throw some light on the matter. He asked the farmer, “The cow is giving you milk no doubt, so you feed it well and look after all its needs. But you don’t bother about the pigs. Eventually you will cut them up and get bacon and bam. You will probably even use their bristles. So why don’t you treat them well?”
The farmer said, “The cow gives a little of herself every day. The pig shall be of value only after it dies. Who thinks of the future? We shall think of that when we come to it. Right now, I love my cows. I sell the milk and earn good money from them! So I feed them well. See!”
The man went home deep in thought. He realised that he was being treated like a pig. Had he behaved like a cow, his children would have treated him like a cow. They would have respected him more.
The very next day he listed out whatever he wanted to give to his children and wrote out a Will. He gave access to the properties to the children so that they could enjoy the benefits. At the same time, the old man was shrewd enough to not pass on the ownership, because he had read enough stories in the newspapers of aged parents being left high and dry after the children had milked them … and he was smart enough to tell his children that if they misbehaved, he would change the Will!
This reminds me of an old man who was dying. He gave away his property to his three sons. But instead of dying, he became better. The sons turned the other way and refused to look after him. He was miserable. At the advice of a friend he filled up an old chest with stones and locked it. He told his sons that he was going to Haridwar and taking the chest full of gold coins with him. Now the sons started lip service again. All three told him that he was old and infirm, so he should not go on such an arduous journey and they would look after him. Each tried to outdo the other. So the father was made comfortable again. And he made the best of the put-on affection and respect. Eventually the old man had to die one day, as we all do. The sons performed his last rites with grandeur. When they broke open the old chest … well don’t you think they deserved those stones?
Each person’s circumstances in life are different. Prudence and common sense are the best fall backs!