By Aazan Ahmad, age 15, South Korea
He was a small eight-year-old boy whose name was simply Tim. He had a twin brother named Matthew; no one but him called him Matt. They had different likes and dislikes. Matthew wasn’t a picky eater but, if given a choice, would eat a McDonald’s Happy Meal for dinner; and Tim, on the other hand, was a picky eater who preferred pizza above every food. Matthew enjoyed reading, but his brother preferred watching television. They did have one similarity, though: ice cream.
Both of them loved ice cream. For ice cream, they would do anything their parents, who only asked them to clean their rooms, asked them to do; their messy rooms turned into rooms fit for two princes every Saturday morning. In exchange for cleaning their rooms, their parents gave each of them a half-dollar to get an ice cream cone when the ice cream truck came by every Saturday afternoon. Matthew always had chocolate while Tim always had strawberry. Life in the cul-de-sac was going pretty well for them. Well, pretty well until the ice cream man started making an ice cream sundae.
One Saturday afternoon while the twins waited along with other kids, the ice cream truck came by as usual. Mr. Phelps, the sweet ice cream man, opened the window on the side of the truck and greeted the children. “Hey, kids, how are you all doing this fine afternoon?”
“Very good, Mr. Phelps!”
“Have you been good this week both at home and school?”
“Yes, sir! May we please have some ice cream now?”
“You sure may have some ice cream. But first I have some news to tell you. Are you ready for it?”
“Yes!” all the children yelled, so loudly that most likely all the parents heard them in their houses.
“Well, I have recently started making an ice cream sundae. It will be served in a big bowl; the sundae is a combination of chocolate, strawberry, vanilla, and a fourth flavor that the consumer can choose.”
“What’s a consumer?” a girl named Jessie asked.
“A consumer is someone who buys something,” Mr. Phelps explained.
Tim, eager to get an ice cream sundae, held out his money and said, “I would like mango flavor as my fourth flavor please.”
Mr. Phelps smiled but slightly shook his head. “I’m sorry, Tim, but the ice cream sundae costs more than just one coin. To buy it, you need to have five more coins, six in total.”
The kids sighed and bought their usual ice cream cones. Matthew suggested all four of them save up money, so each could buy an ice cream sundae; however, the kids shook their heads at the thought of giving up ice cream for a few weeks. Once the kids bought their ice cream cones, they thanked Mr. Phelps for them, and Mr. Phelps, in return, thanked them for buying his ice cream cones. All the kids forgot all about the ice cream sundae but enjoyed their ice cream cones. Well, all except Matthew.
Matthew wanted the ice cream sundae really badly. He knew the only way to get it was to save up his money. Matthew’s mouth watered at the sight of other kids eating ice cream but knew they would be the ones with the watering mouths when he bought the ice cream sundae. All Matthew had to do was be patient.
Matthew and Tim’s parents were very proud of Matthew when he told them why he didn’t buy an ice cream cone. His parents knew this was a sign of him growing up and learning the art of patience in order to get something better. Tim, on the other hand, scoffed at the idea of patience and said, “It will take ages by the time I have enough to buy an ice cream sundae.” Tim did ask his parents for the amount to buy an ice cream sundae, but his parents said no because that would be unfair to Matthew.
“Tim, it would be a good idea for you to learn patience also,” his mom said.
“Mommy, it’s hard to resist ice cream! I would rather just eat my regular strawberry ice cream cone than wait for ages and ages to have enough money saved up.”
“Whatever you say, Sweetie. Now, Matthew, if you want, I can hold onto your money for safekeeping; that way, you won’t lose it.”
“Okay, Mommy,” Matthew said in agreement.
One week came after another and so on. With every passing week, Matthew had more money while Tim had ice cream in his mouth. On the fourth week, when Matthew had a total of four half-dollar coins, his dad gave him—and, to be fair, Tim—an extra half-dollar coin. Matt and Tim were both happy, but for different reasons.
“Thank you, Daddy! Now I just need to wait one week to get the chocolate sundae, which I have been craving,” Matthew spoke cheerfully.
“Thank you, Daddy! Now I can get two ice cream cones. Hooray!” said Tim, who also spoke cheerfully.
“You both are very welcome,” their dad said with a smile.
Matthew used to ride his bicycle in the afternoons but decided to stay indoors; the other kids always laughed at him for not buying an ice cream cone and called him a “money collector.” When Matthew complained to his parents, his parents told the other kids’ parents to ask their kids not to make fun of Matthew. However, the other kids soon forgot the lesson their parents taught them. So Matthew decided to spend his time reading, talking to Mommy and Daddy, and helping Mommy bake cookies.
Patience is hard, but it brings great rewards; no one knew that better than Matthew at his age. Finally, when the next week came, Matthew stood outside with the other kids and with his six coins in his hand. When the ice cream truck came and Mr. Phelps opened the window, Matthew held out his six coins and asked for a chocolate sundae.
“Wow, you did it, Matthew!” Mr. Phelps was amazed. “High-five!”
Mr. Phelps bent down to give him a high-five and said, “Now, my young boy, what flavor do you want as the fourth flavor?”
“I would like mango as my fourth flavor,” Matt requested.
“Coming right up!” Mr. Phelps said over his shoulder.
“I didn’t know you liked mango, Matt,” said Tim.
“I don’t like mango. I asked for it for you.”
Before Tim could say something, Matt said, “We can share if you like. You don’t have to sit by the other kids with watery mouths.”
“Thank you, Matt,” Tim said shyly.
When Mr. Phelps handed Matt a bowl with two spoons, which Matt requested, the two boys thanked him, walked back to their front yard, and enjoyed the ice cream sundae. In between eating, Tim said, “You know, Matt, from now on, I will save my money—starting with the half-dollar I got this week.”