Tip-Toeing down the stairs, Robbie sneaks into the kitchen. He heard his father, an Oyster Farmer, return from work an hour ago, so Robbie knew there would be a fresh load of oysters in the ice box.

In the kitchen, Robbie climbs on a chair so he can reach the drawer where the Oster Shucker/Knife is kept. As he pulls the sharp tool out of the drawer to open his first ever oyster, he is startled by his mother’s voice “Robbie, put that down now”, Mama says, afraid her infant son is about to hurt himself.

As you know, the curiosity of 4 year old boys can seldom be contained, but Mama tries anyway. “Robbie, never touch this again, you can hurt yourself”.

“But Mama, I want to open an oyster and see the pearl”.

“Robbie, not all oysters have pearls in them, in fact very very few do Robbie”.

“But Mama, the ones I open WILL have pearls”.

“Yes my Robbie, yes they will, now back to bed with you” Mama says as she picks Robbie up and hands him to his father to take him back upstairs.

It is now Robbie’s 5th birthday, the cake is presented, the candles are blown out and a wish is made. “Will it come true Papa?”.

“Yes, if I can make it true for you Robbie, it will come true, what would you like”

Robbie points to the ice box, “I want to open an oyster and see the pearl”.

His parents smile at their young son’s innocence and naivety “Robbie, you can open an oyster with me, but I can’t promise there will be a pearl inside”.

“There will be Papa, I know there will”

Papa takes Robbie to the ice box and tells him to pick a handful of oysters so they can open them together.

“I only need one Papa”

Robbie takes the first oyster, not thinking to take his time to pick “the one”.

As he walks back to the family table his parents smile at Robbie’s excitement, although they are also mentally preparing the emotional net they will need for him in a moment, when he opens his oyster and finds only a fleshy mollusc inside.

Mama helps Robbie put the sharp shucker into the oyster. Together they turn the tool slowly, the shell makes a small cracking sound as it opens. Robbie slowly lifts the lid and looks on in wonderment at his first pearl…..Robbie’s parents look on in disbelief.

Laughter, applause, jumping, screaming, it all happens in the space of a few minutes as they excitedly celebrate little Robbie’s miracle.

“Again, again”, says Robbie

“No Robbie, this is a beautiful present right here” says Papa, mindful that he doesn’t want to spoil this miraculous moment for him, by attempting the same feat and being disappointed.

“But I know there will be another one Papa”

Papa and Mama both do their best to distract him, and the party continues.

As they tuck Robbie into bed at the end of an exciting day, he says to his parent through a yawn “Next time Mama, I’ll do it again next time”.

“Of course Robbie, of course you will, now go to sleep my Prince”.

It’s 3am

Crack………laugh………crack………laugh………crack………laugh

Papa and Mama recognising Robbie’s laugh rush down the stairs not knowing what they will find.

What they find is Robbie sat on the floor surrounded by cracked oyster shells, in front of him is a large bowl. Before either of them can say a word to admonish their young son for both the danger of opening oysters on his own, or the mess he has made, they see what is in the bowl. It is full of pearls, and not just any pearls, but some of the most beautiful pearls they have ever seen.

“Robbie, what have you done” says Papa, not understanding how this has happened. “Where did all of these pearls come from Robbie”.

“I just opened the oysters Papa, the pearls were already inside”

“But Robbie” says Mama, “How did you know they were inside?”

“I just believed they were there, and when I opened them, there they were” smiled Robbie. “Is there some more cake please Mama, it’s not morning yet, so it’s still my birthday”.

When you meet people in this world, do you “hope” there is a Pearl in them, or do you, like Robbie, just believe it’s there in everyone. Both Robbie & I believe there are pearls in all of us, some of us are harder to open than others, but the pearl is there, if you believe, the pearl is always there. Try it for yourself and see how rich life truly can be when you KNOW that you are surrounded by Pearls.

You must trust and believe in people or life becomes impossible” Anton Checkov

What changes might you make to help you have more belief in the people around you?

(Hint: Whilst changing the people around you is “an” answer, it’s not “the” answer)

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