Mr Albert Peacock kept a shop that sold all kinds of goods in a poor area of Warrington - and he had one son named Harold who was seven years old.
Mr Peacock offered a very valuable service to his customers, which was the opportunity to sell their goods in his shop – potatoes, carrots, eggs, onions, etc. Mr Peacock knew you see, that people were short of money in that community and that they depended on this service to help support them financially.
One Saturday morning Miss Jones entered his shop. She had a dozen pullet eggs in her bag. Pullet eggs, incidentally, are very small. “Can you sell there dozen pullet eggs for me, Mr Peacock?” she asked.
“Of course”, said Mr Peacock laughing heartily. “If I can’t sell them for you with all my years of experience as a shopkeeper, I don’t know who can!” And Mr Peacock laughed heartily again. Mr Peacock was quite a hearty laugher. “Come back for your money round about half past four, Miss Jones” he said.
“I’ll most certainly do that.” said Miss Jones. And off she trotted gratefully.
For the rest of the day Mr Peacock traded successfully. But, despite all the comings and goings in his shop; and although he offered the pullet eggs to every customer – strangely enough, Mr Peacock failed to sell a single egg. It was half past three in the afternoon by now, when Harold the son came into the shop and noticed the worry etched on his father’s face. “What’s wrong, dad?” he asked.
“Well, I’m having difficulty selling these pullet eggs for Miss Jones, son” said Mr Peacock. “What shall I do? You see, I know she’s depending on the money from the sale of these eggs to buy a piece of meat for her Sunday dinner tomorrow.”
“Can I try selling them for you, dad?” asked Harold.
“You, Harold - don’t be so ridiculous!” said the father. “If I can’t sell these pullet eggs with all my years of experience as a shopkeeper, what chance do you have boy, as a seven year old?”
“You’ve got nothing to loose” replied Harold impudently.
“Well, I suppose not” Mr Peacock conceded. And with that he handed the pullet eggs over the counter to Harold his son. “Here” he said “and mind you don’t break any!”
Fifteen minutes later Harold was back – and he’d sold all the eggs. His father marvelled. “I don’t believe it! How did you manage to sell all those pullet eggs, Harold – when I’d been at it all day long and failed to sell a single one?”
“Well” said Harold. “You’re a big man dad, and your hands are big. The pullet eggs, which are small, looked like nothing at all in your hands. But I’m a little boy, and in my little hands the pullet eggs looked huge – and everyone fancied them.”
A few weeks ago I read somewhere that the Peacocks Company were going to expand their business empire and were opening a hundred new shops in England and Wales. And I remembered how the original Mr Peacock and his son, Harold, had taught me two valuable lessons.
1) If we do the right thing we get the right result. (That’s obvious with the company Mr Peacock established going from strength to strength. It’s also true for addicts and alcoholics when we embark on the exciting journey of recovery – if we do the right things we get the right results.)
2) And the second lesson was this: no matter how insignificant we think we are - we can, as Harold proved, do some things that no one else can - even though the best qualifications to do that job sometimes appear to belong to other people. (Never underestimate yourself as recovering alcoholics and addicts: you might be the one person who can say the right words at exactly the right time and in exactly the right order – that can save someone from a life of despair, hopelessness and loneliness through addiction to drink and/or drugs. Now, how important is that?!)
Round about Christmas, for example, if you employed the best actors in the world to tell the Nativity story, I’ll bet you a million pounds that a small group of children from a Sunday school class in the back of beyond in rural Wales can do a better job.
See what I mean?
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