Once upon a time in the city of Naples in Italy, there lived a young boy of about eleven years, with his mother. They were quite poor and so both of them had to work, to earn money only t buy their daily needs. The boy worked in a factory, but he loved to sing. In the “thick-tock” of the machines he heard music. In the chirping of the birds and the gurgling of the brooks, he heard the wonderful melodies of nature. He spent all his spare time in learning to read musical notes, practicing on an old piano, and singing songs.
One day, he hopefully approached a music teacher and asked him to help him become a great singer. The teacher made him sing only once and said, “You are hopeless! You have no vice at all! You can never become a great singer”. These words were like a blow across the face of the young lad. They had a crushing effect on him. The poor boy felt like giving up all his efforts. Son he began to wander through the streets of Naples with his fellow teen-age factory workers.
It broke the heart of his mother to see him so disappointed. She had faith in him. She knew what was good for her son. One evening, after dinner she put her hands around his neck and said, “I love the way you sing. Why don’t we both sing our favorite song? It has been many days since I heard you sing”. So saying, she took him to the piano. He played their favorite tune and soon the house was vibrating with the musical notes and the sounds of their singing. They both thoroughly enjoyed it. The mother said, “Why don’t we start you on music lessons? I know a great music teacher who will train you to become an expert. I am sure some day you too will earn fame as a great singer”. The encouraging words of his mother had a magical effect on the boy. He felt he was alive again.
To prove her complete faith in her son the mother made all sorts of sacrifices. She even went barefoot in the cold winter months because she had to pay for his singing lessons. Her constant encouragement, faith in his talent and sacrifices motivated her son to regain his self-confidence and he eventually became one of the greatest singers of all times! His name was Enrico Caruso!
If you go to any Juvenile Court in any part of India today, you will see how day after day; young, fine-looking lads are sentenced to four, five or even more years in the reformatory School. These young men could have been saved form such a disgrace, could have led happy meaningful lives if only they were encouraged to keep busy. But they wasted most of their time wandering in the streets, picking-pocketing, making fun of girls or elderly people, and finally these young men became embittered and angry with no future for themselves and of no use to their country.
Why does this happen? It is because they are idle. Some are idle because after school their parents leave them completely free to do what they please, to go where they please and to waste their time, because the parents themselves are busy at work and come home late. Today, due to the high cost of living and increasing wants, both the parents have to work. If there are no grandparents at home, the children sometimes tend to get out of control. Mostly, they join street-gangs, where they learn to use filthy language, bully others, and develop bad characters.
Some other children are idle because they just sit around day-dreaming or watching the TV hour after hour, wasting their talents and spoiling their health.
At this stage of your life, the most important things are to avoid being idle and being bored. ‘An ideal mind is a devil’s workshop’. It means that if your minds I not occupied doing things, creating something, studying you lessons, or pursuing your hobby, your mind will be filled with undesirable, anti-social thoughts that will land you into trouble.