The Little Golden Bean

“The Little Golden Bean,” Ensign, Aug. 1993, 67

The Little Golden Bean

My wife and I wanted to teach our children the principle of giving genuine, unselfish service. So one night in home evening, we announced that we were going to begin a program called “el frijolito de oro”—“the little golden bean.”

We gave each of the children a plastic container with a lid and told them that for every act of service they performed spontaneously for a family member—without anyone asking them to do it—we would give them a little bean to put in their container. We explained that during our next home evening, we would count the little beans. The person with the most beans would receive special recognition.

The results were remarkable! We didn’t have enough brooms in the house—everyone wanted to sweep! And we didn’t see a single toy out of place during that entire week. We began to wonder if we would have enough beans to get through the week!

During that week, my wife broke her foot. She had to have a cast on her entire leg. The doctor said that during the first three days, she should have absolute rest and that she should keep her leg elevated.

This, of course, gave more opportunities to serve. And it helped us discover how much the children were coming to understand the beautiful principle of service.

On one of the days when my wife was to have complete rest, she wanted to sit in the living room. Just as she got settled, Betito, one of the youngest of our children, ran and brought a chair for her to rest her leg on. Next, he brought a blanket and put it on a chair. Then he lifted her leg onto the blanket.

Caressing his head, my wife said to him, “Go to the cupboard and get two beans for this beautiful act of service.”

But instead of going to the cupboard, Betito looked up to his mother and said, “Mamá, I don’t want any beans. I did this because I love you very much.”—Félix Alberto Martínez Decuir, Nuevo León, Mexico

Photography by Phil Shurtleff

Illustration by Brent Christison