A great story that has probably given me more food for thought than any story I have found is about Ben Franklin when he was small. A visitor pulled some change from his pocket and gave it to young Franklin. Later, seeing another boy playing with a whistle, young Ben gave the boy all of his money for it. He played the whistle all over the neighborhood, having great fun until he went into a shop that sold whistles. There he discovered that he could have bought a new whistle for a fraction of what he’d paid.
After that knowledge, the whistle lost its charm.
Later, as an adult, Franklin realized this was an important life principle. He often saw others as well as himself “pay too much for their whistles.”
Two illnesses in my life could have avoided had I taken better care of myself.
As a teenager I spent too much time having fun and working on my basketball skills instead of studying. When I got to college, I realized that honing my study skills would have been time well spent.
We have all seen parents neglect children to spend more time on the job. Those same parents regret that decision when the children are in trouble or simply don’t want to have anything to do with their parents. Those parents may have done well in their professions, but they paid too much for their whistles.
Anytime I see a whistle, I am reminded of that story. When we make choices, whether great or small, we want to be careful not to pay too much for our whistles.