American Dream - written by Alfred (a short story for kids)

Once upon a time there lived two friends. One’s name was Carlos and the other one’s name was Micheal. They lived in a country where there is war and great difficulty. They dreamt of running away to America to start a new life – they that believed the land of opportunity is full of many opportunities including the opportunity to become millionaires which they deeply craved to be.
Carlos and Micheal tried plan after plan to get themselves to America but they were unsuccessful. They didn’t give up though because the believed that getting to America was going to solve all their problems.
They finally had their chance to escape the difficulty of their country when they succeeded in hiding themselves in barrels of apples that were being shipped to the united states. When the ship was way out at sea they would come out of the barrels with an insider’s help and head for the part of the ship were people are and would mingle with the passengers. They had arranged with a ring of insiders who helped illegal immigrants get into America for a cheap fee. They took care of fake papers and everything.
After Carlos and Michael had been on the ship for days with no one knowing that they were illegal immigrants they ship finally got close to America. Carlos and Michael where in awe at the beauty of America – they had never seen anything as beautiful as what stood before their eyes. America’s beauty had surpassed their expectations. America was simply paradise – paradise on earth.
They both safely got passed the border and had tricked the custom men with their fake papers and documents which was not an easy thing to do. They would have never succeeded if they didn’t have any inside help. This of course was a bad thing to do. Carlos and Michael had never heard about Jesus before and although they were nice people in a worldly sense because they didn’t hurt people, they still had no relationship or knowledge of a God that could guide us to live according to his will. That was going to change however, because after a few weeks in America they both attended a crusade they heard everyone talking about. There they heard about Jesus Christ and by the end of the crusade they both got saved after the answered the altar call.
As time went on however, it appeared that only Michael was truly serious about his salvation and building a genuine relationship with God.
Carlos and Michael both got jobs and both decided to do their best to remain friends no matter what in this new wonderful country called America. 
5 years later, Carlos and Michael are both doing well for themselves and it seemed like their American dream was about to come true. They both now had families, they lived in the same middle class neighborhood and they were both happier than they’ve ever previously been in their lives.
But soon, Carlos discovers that he is always struggling financially. He always had bills upon bills to pay. There was always something necessary he needed to spend money on. 
Carlos decided to get another job in addition to his previous job but he soon was short of cash again in-spite of the money from the two jobs. Carlos was quite stomped about it, later he decided to get a third job. Funny thing, was that his friend Michael didn’t seem to be going through any financial trouble. Michael had only one job and had more kids than Carlos yet he was doing quite well and was even getting richer. Carlos just couldn’t understand it.
Carlos’ 3rd job seemed to help matters for a while but soon in-spite of the large cash coming from 3 jobs he soon found himself in need of still more cash just to make ends meet. Carlos did not understand why he was struggling financially just as many others in America are struggling in-spite of how much they are earning, and yet Michael who came from the same place he came from – who came to America with basically nothing but a dream just like he did was not having any financial troubles at all.
One day Carlos woke up to find out that Michael was now a millionaire. He had succeeded in achieving his American dream.
Carlos almost became jealous of Michael but he quickly decided that he won’t be jealous. He would be happy for Michael. Besides he was his friend. He should be glad that someone made it out of poverty – out of -where they came from and made it to being a millionaire in America. Even though that person wasn’t him.
Carlos kept on struggling with bills just like many other Americans. The more money he made the more bills he had.
Carlos figured that when his kids grow up and he’s finished training them through school it would decrease his bills big time.
Years later all of Carlos’ kids finished their school education and had moved out of the house, some where even married; and yet Carlos still didn’t have enough cash to make ends meet. All he had to take care of was his wife and himself but yet he still never had enough money for just the two of them. 
Something must have seriously been wrong. He had been promoted in all the three jobs he had so he earned far more money than he did when he had only one job at the beginning and kids to take care of, yet he was still in need of more money to get by. What a mystery.
Carlos and Michael soon got very old many many years later and they were now living in the same retirement home.
One day while they were both playing chess together, sitting out in open under one of the beautiful trees near a lovely garden in the retirement home. Carlos opened up and said to Michael, “There has always been one thing that has been bothering me since we came to this country from ours with practically nothing but a dream. I never could quite understand how you kept on making money and not having any financial difficulty while I always was in need of more money to pay off bills upon bills that always grew three time more any time I earned more money.”
Michael looked as his friend and replied, “Your problem is the same problem that many Americans have. You don’t seem to realize that IF YOU DO NOT STRANGULATE YOUR NECESSARY EXPENSES, YOUR NECESSARY EXPENSES WOULD STRANGULATE YOU. You have to realize that you have to watch your expenses and strongly determine that you would never spend above a certain percentage of what you earn or make so that you can divide the remaining percentage into two parts; the larger percentage which you should invest in a business you are knowledgeable about and the smaller percentage which you should give to charity. How you map out the percentages is up to you but what ever you choose it should be reasonable and you should stick to it no matter what.”
Carlos was shocked. What he had just heard was powerful and it was true. It all made sense to him. He always needed more money because he wasn’t watching his expenses so no matter how much money he earned his expenses always grew with his income. If only he had been watching the ratio of his expenses to his income and making sure that his expenses remain small in comparison to his income he wouldn’t have struggled financially. Plus if he had known what Michael had just told him about dividing his income into three parts (for investing, charity and expenses) using percentages earlier he would have become a millionaire too.    
In shock at the wisdom of his friend Carlos asked, “How did you get to know all this?”
“From Christian Television.” Carlos replied, “I took my relationship with God serious and you didn’t.”


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