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"Those kids will drive you crazy!"

That's what the old man's friends told him when he bought the small, well kept house just down the street from the local junior high school. Contrary to their warnings though, the man's first few weeks in his new house went without a hitch.

Then the new school year began.

The very next afternoon three young boys, full of pent up energy, whooped their way down his street, beating merrily on every trashcan they passed. The crashing percussion continued day after day, until finally the man decided it was time to take some action.

One afternoon he walked out to meet the young percussionists as they banged their way home. He said, "You kids are a lot of fun. I like to see you express your excitement like that because it reminds me of the things I used to do when I was your age. In fact, I like it so much that I'll give you each a dollar if you'll promise to come around every day and do your thing." The kids grinned at each other and agreed to continue their afternoon trash can performances.

After a few days, the old timer greeted the kids again, but this time he had a sad smile on his face. "This recession's really putting a big dent in my income," he told them. "From now on, I'll only be able to pay you 50 cents to beat on the trash cans."

The noisemakers were obviously disappointed, but they accepted his offer and continued their daily ruckus. A few days later, the wily retiree approached the kids again as they drummed their way down the street.

"Look," he said, "I haven't received my Social Security check yet, so I'm not going to be able to give you more than 25 cents. Will that be okay?"

"A lousy quarter?" the drum leader exclaimed. "If you think we're going to waste our time beating these cans around for a quarter, you're nuts! No way, mister. We quit!"

And from that day on, the old man enjoyed peace in the afternoon.

Through self-control, the old man was able to use wisdom in handling the matter with the boys in a calm way without losing his temper or doing something that would not be Christlike.

Yet on the other side of the coin, the boys lost their self-control when they shifted their focus on the money, rather than banging on the trashcans for their enjoyment. When the money starting decreasing, they lost the joy of what they were doing.

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