Chapter 2. Part II
LESSON #l: The Rich Don't Work For Money
I didn't tell my poor dad I wasn't being paid. He would not have understood, and I did not want to try to explain something that I did not yet understand myself. For three more weeks, Mike and I worked for three hours, every Saturday, for nothing. The work didn't bother me, and the routine got easier. It was themissed baseball games and not being able to
afford to buy a few comic books that got to me. Rich dad stopped by at noon on the third week. We heard his truck pull up in the parking lot and sputter when the engine was turned off. He entered the store and greeted Mrs. Martin with a hug.
After finding out how things were going in the store, he reached into the ice-cream freezer, pulled out twobars, paid for them, and signalled to Mike and me.
"Let's go for a walk boys."
We crossed the street, dodging a few cars, and walked across a large grassy field, where a few adults were playing softball. Sitting down at a remote picnic table, he handed Mike and me the ice-cream bars.
"How's it going boys?"
"OK," Mike said.
I nodded in agreement. "Learn anything yet?" rich dad asked.
Mike and Ilooked at each other, shrugged our shoulders and shook our heads in unison.
"Well, you boys had better start thinking. You're staring at one of life's biggest lessons. If you learn the lesson, you'll enjoy a life of great freedom and security. If you don't learn the lesson, you'll wind up like Mrs. Martin and most of the people playing softball in this park. They work very hard, for little money,clinging to the illusion of job security, looking forward to a three-week vacation each year and a skimpy pension after forty-five years of work. If that excites you, I'll give you a raise to 25 cents an hour."
"But these are good hard-working people. Are you making fun of them?" I demanded.
A smile came over rich dad's face.
"Mrs. Martin is like a mother to me. I would never be that cruel. Imay sound cruel because I'm doing my best to point something out to the two of you. I want to expand your point of view so you can see something. Something most people never have the benefit of seeing because their vision is too narrow. Most people never see the trap they are in."
Mike and I sat there uncertain of his message. He sounded cruel, yet we could sense he was desperately wanting us toknow something.
With a smile, rich dad said, "Doesn't that 25 cents an hour sound good? Doesn't it make your heart beat a little faster."
I shook my head "no," but it really did. Twenty five cents an hour would be big bucks to me.
"OK, I'll pay you a dollar an hour," rich dad said, with a sly grin. Now my heart was beginning to race. My brain was screaming, "Take it. Take it." I could notbelieve what I was hearing. Still, I said nothing.
"OK, $2 an hour."
My little 9-year-old brain and heart nearly exploded. After all, it was 1956 and being paid $2 an hour would have made me the richest kid in the world. I couldn't imagine earning that kind of money. I wanted to say "yes." But somehow my mouth stayed silent.
Maybe my brain had overheated and blown a fuse. But deep down, I badlywanted that $2 an hour.
The ice cream had melted and was running down my hand. Rich dad was looking at two boys staring back at him, eyes wide open and brains empty. He knew he was testing us, and he knew there was a part of our emotions that wanted to take the deal.
"OK, $5 an hour."
Suddenly there was a silence from inside me. Something had changed. The offer was too big and had gottenridiculous. Not too many grownups in 1956 made more than $5 an hour. The temptation disappeared, and a calm set in. Slowly I turned to my left to look at Mike. He looked back at me. The part of my soul that was weak and needy was silenced. The part of me that had no price took over. There was a calm and a certainty about money that entered my brain and my soul. I knew Mike had gotten to that point also....