A young man started his own business – a dime store at the corner of two streets in a small town. He was honest and friendly, and people loved him. His business grew and he expanded his store. In a matter of years, he developed his one store into a chain from coast to coast.
The successful businessman was taken ill to the hospital and the doctor feared that his life was ending soon. He called together all three of his adult sons and gave them this challenge: “One of the three of you will become the president of this company that I have built over the years. To decide which one of you deserves to become the president, I’m going to give each of you a one-dollar bill. Go today and buy whatever you can with that one dollar, but when you get back here to my hospital room this evening, whatever you buy with your dollar must fill this room from corner to corner.”
His sons were all excited at the opportunity to run such a successful organization. Each went to town and spent the dollar. When they came back in the evening, the father asked the first son, “What have you done with your dollar?”
“Well, Dad,” the first son said, “I went to my friend’s farm, gave him my dollar and bought two bales of hay.” With that, the son went outside the room, brought in the bales of hay, undid them, and began to throw that hay up into the air. For a moment, the room was filled with hay. But in a few moments, the hay all settled on the floor and the room was not completely filled from corner to corner, as the father had instructed.
The father then asked the second son, “What have you done with your dollar?”
“I went to Sears,” the second son said, “and bought two pillows made with feathers.” He then brought in the pillows, opened them, and threw the feathers all over the room. In time, all the feathers settled down on the floor and the room was still not filled.”
The father then asked the third son, “And you, what have you done with your dollar?”
“I took my dollar, Dad, and went to a store like the one you had many years ago,” the third son said, “I gave the owner my dollar and asked him for some change. Then I gave 40 cents of my dollar to two charitable organizations. I then donated 20 cents to our church. That left me with 40 cents. With them, I bought two items.”
The son then reached in his pocket and took out a little matchbox and a little candle. He lit the candle, turned off the light, and the room was filled. From corner to corner, the room was filled – with light.
The father was delighted. “Well done, my son. You will become president of this company because you understand a very important lesson about life. You understand how to let your light shine.”