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The Headliner

RPDS HeadmasterEach weekly Headliner essay is written to the RPDS community by our Headmaster, H. Palmer Bell. Topics important within the life of the school, education, contemporary parenting, culture and spiritual formation are common themes. Click the underlined article title to read each week's full Headliner. The "get link" is provided to allow a quick way for you to share a direct connection to the essay with friends and family. Mr. Bell welcomes your comments as you meet him on campus or through e-mail at

Stop Picking Up Pennies
Posted 05/03/2017 01:51PM

Years ago I saved an internet parable of unknown origin that reminded me of Shakespeare’s warning to guard against seeking too much of a good thing.  It also seems to fit nicely as a reminder to guard the amount of daily time you and I dedicate to screen gazing.

A young boy was walking down the street one day when he found a bright copper penny.  He was captivated by his good fortune to find money that had cost him nothing.  This experience soon shaped the boy’s life and he spent the rest of his days walking with his head down and eyes open, actively scanning for further treasure.

As life was drawing to a close, the now elderly gentleman took stock of his good fortune.  His ledger sheet showed 296 pennies, 48 nickels, 19 dimes, 16 quarters, 2 half-dollars and one crinkled dollar bill.  His collection totaled $13.26.  Money for nothing!

Another might question what the collection of this found asset of $13.26 COST?  He missed the breathless beauty of 31,369 sunsets, the colorful splendor of 157 rainbows and the fiery beauty of thousands of maple leaves nipped by autumn’s frost.  He never saw white clouds drifting across blue skies and shifting into various wondrous formations.  How sad that birds flying, sun shining, and the smiles of a thousand passing people are not a part of his memory.

The summer vacation now on the horizon is a gift; for children there are summer camps, trips to the pool, family vacations and carefree hours of outdoor play that seemingly never end.  As adults we longingly remember those re-energizing days, yet we work on, focused instead on financial worries, business dilemmas and responsibilities that cloud our realities.  Childhood offers us the reminder to relax and to share a healthy infusion of “a vacation heart.”  Stop picking up the pennies.  Intuitively, we know that the calendar will close summer once again and that it is best if we have embraced a break, which prepares us to return refreshed to the responsibilities of our lives.

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