Jackie’s Dilemma

“Cockadoodle doo!” the rooster crowed for the third time.

She wanted to pull the pillow over her head to shut out the persistent crowing of the rooster but knew it would not be wise.  It was time to get up and start her morning chores.

Phil, as the rooster was named by one of her cousins, was her clock.  He first crowed at or around 4 o’clock every morning.  She was usually sound asleep at that time. Then he crowed again at 6:00 am. She knew this was his second round of crowing and that it was around 6:00 am, as she also saw a sliver of morning light beyond the curtains of the bedroom window.

Jackie covered her head with the sheet and said her morning prayers under the covers.  She had no special reason for doing this, but it made her feel closer to God, especially as she missed her parents so very much on the days that she was many miles away from them.

She looked across at the other bed in the room and saw that her cousin, Pamela, was sleeping soundly.  For a moment she thought how unfair it was that Pamela got to sleep in until 7:00 am every morning, but like the stepsister in Cinderella, she had to get up at 6:00 am to do chores.

She was heading to the bathroom when she heard Aunt Mae’s voice, “Jackie, time to get up!” For a moment she wondered what would happen if she ignored her aunt and kept heading for the bathroom. Instead, she obediently replied, “I’m up, Aunt Mae. I’m going to brush my teeth.”

“Remember to move the chairs at the dining table and give the floor under the table a good shine this morning!”

Tears flooded Jackie’s eyes, but she replied, “Yes, Aunt Mae,” and continued to the outside bathroom to wash her face and brush her teeth. She could not afford to be late for school this morning!

So far, Jackie had not told her parents that although they were paying for her boarding, at ten years old she had to do morning chores which she knew her parents would not have expected her to do. Aunt Mae required that she polish and shine the beautiful hardwood floor in the drawing room and dining room every morning before she went to school.

The problem was that many mornings her chores caused her to be late for school, and she had already received two warnings from the Headmistress. The third late arrival would result in lashes in her hands from the cane Mrs. Buck kept on her desk.

In the 1960’s it was commonplace for teachers to administer corporal punishment, sometimes harsh punishment, on students.

And so, on this Wednesday morning, as she walked into class, just after morning devotion ended, almost visually trembling, she knew she’d receive no less than four lashes in her hand. It would be painful and humiliating.

What’s more, she discovered later that Mrs. Buchanan had written to her mother about her tardiness.

Jackie feared explaining to her mother almost more than she feared the lashes from the Headmistress’ cane.

When she returned home on the weekend, she finally told her parents about her morning chores and that many mornings, in order to get to school on time, she had to leave without eating breakfast. Aunt Mae, however, kept telling her that she was late because she needed to move faster.

Her parents were understandably upset with her for not telling them sooner.

The only immediate solution, which was quite challenging, was for her to travel from home daily.  It meant getting up as early or earlier than before to take the bus, which would hopefully get her to school on time. This was not a school bus. This was an ordinary “country bus” which stopped all along the way to pick up or let off passengers.

Though it was hard, in Jackie’s opinion, this was a much better option. She was able to sleep in her own bed at night, with her loving parents close by. And she saw them every day rather than just on the weekends. What’s more, she had her chores around the home but was not required to clean the floor in her parent’s home. She was given age-appropriate chores, which her mother said would contribute to her being an industrious young lady.

The Entrepreneur’s Perspective

At times, you may need to make sacrifices in order to achieve the results you desire. Are you willing to work harder for yourself than you’d work for someone else? It takes a firm resolve and determination to pursue and achieve the goals you set for yourself in order to achieve the vision you created for yourself, your life, and your business.

What have been your biggest challenges in achieving your BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal)?

Share in the comments or message me if you’d like to discuss some of your challenges in achieving your goals and how to overcome them.


Yvonne A. Jones
Yvonne A. Jones
YVONNE is a Personal Business Coach | Relationship Marketing Strategist| Amazon Best-Selling Author| International Speaker. She is the Founder of the 50 and Wiser Community on Facebook – a Group of women who want to DO more, GIVE more, and BE more. As a certified Strategy and Accountability Coach, she helps Entrepreneurs, Coaches, Consultants, and Small Business Owners eliminate limiting beliefs, create a business they love, and have fun doing so. Her favorite client is a highly-motivated woman 50 and Wiser who has been in business for approximately one year and is ready to empower herself and move to the next level. Yvonne’s background is in banking, Human Resources, administration, and Customer Service. At 52 years she handed in her resignation and walked away from Corporate America to start her own business full-time. She has experienced the joys and challenges of owning multiple businesses. She was listed on as one of the “Top 100 Most Social Customer Service Pros on Twitter” and on “One of the Top 15 Most Influential Customer Service Experts to Follow on Twitter.” Despite the recognition and promotions received while in corporate life in Jamaica and America, she now considers herself “unemployable” due to her love of being her own boss and inspiring others to pursue their passion and dreams. Yvonne’s mantra: “Focus on relationships; the money will follow.”

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  1. Larry, I did not grow up on a farm, and truth be told I had forgotten that, like Jackie, while I was at boarding school (High School) we had to get up around the same time to go down to the basement where the showers were, and the water was cold! Also like Jackie, I had to rush to get to the dining room on time.

    Whenever I visit Jamaica, somewhere in the community, there’s always a rooster to wake me up. I am so happy to know you can relate to the story and how well the the habits you formed as a child served you well into your own life and business.

  2. I think I would have been a lot like Jackie in this situation. I too would have skipped breakfast to please my Aunt. While the time she arose could of been adjusted to allow time to scrub those floors in time to make it to school and eat breakfast. It was much nicer she got to see her parents daily and sleep in her own bed. And perhaps that’s what she really wanted all along. 🙂

    • Eva, I believe you’re right, Jackie would have preferred not to attend Elementary School so far away from home, but in the extended version of the story, that school had a very high standard of education and discipline, and her mother regarded those as being very important. Hence, the long distance from home. Isn’t interesting how we can relate to characters in stories? Thank you for reading. I appreciate you.

  3. Lovely story and I am sure that every Jackie would choose what was choice made by Jackie.
    the biggest odd I faced in BHAG was to convince people to do their role. At times they were not convinced that they can get to the goal. Under such circumstances had to take charge of situation in own hands.

    • Thank you, Vinod, for reading. I appreciate your response. I tend to agree with you. Unless they have an unhappy family life, most children want to be around family who love and cherish them.

      Have you found that if people are not convinced or motivated from within, they fail to take action? In working with clients over the years, as well as observing co-workers (when I worked in corporate life), if people do not embrace the message or concept, they never take the kind of action you’d have anticipated.

  4. Love this story. Growing up on a farm we got up while it was still dark. Didn’t matter if it was cold,raining or snowing the work had to be done. I took that work ethic with me and had a successful life. Oddly enough even though I am retired I still get up when the rooster crows and yes we have a rooster on the neighbors farm