The Buck Starts Here

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#426: “The Buck Starts Here”
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Ecclesiastes 3:2-8

2a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot,

3a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, 4a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, 5a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain, 6a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, 7a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak,

8a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.

Ecclesiastes 3:11
11He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.

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“The Parable of the Entrepreneur, The Sock Shooter, and the Ditch-Digger”
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The Buck Starts Here

“The Buck Starts Here” is episode #426 of the Adventures in Odyssey audio series. It was written by Marshal Younger, and originally aired on October 16, 1999.


Whit gives Jared DeWhite, Ashley, and Nathaniel Graham money to spend wisely, and they all use it in different ways.


The Buck Starts Here.jpg

As part of an experiment Whit is conducting, he gives Jared, Ashley, and Nathaniel $25 to use constructively in the next two weeks. If they try to build on it, they can keep it. If they don't build on it, he will take it back. The kids immediately start to work on their big ideas.

Mandy Straussberg, the secretary for Nathaniel, gives him some delicious muffins that convince him they should go into the muffin business. After some discussion, Mandy agrees to make muffins to sell if she can be a 50-50 partner with Nathaniel.

Meanwhile, Ashley decides she will buy some tools and start a bike repair shop. Soon Roy Randy comes by and asks her to fix his bike right that very day. While Ashley works on the bike, Roy discovers a sock shooter on her bike. He is fascinated and asks if she can make some for him.

The next day, Whit makes some peanut butter banana ice cream and offers some to Jared. However, Jared gets suspicious that Whit is trying to tempt him to waste his money, so he refuses to buy any. Mandy then approaches Jared to tell him that Greenblatt’s Department Store has binoculars on sale. Once again, he is suspicious that Mr. Greenblatt and Whit are scheming to get his money, so he refuses to spend a penny.

Though all the kids want to spend their money constructively, they find obstacles to overcome. Nathaniel and Mandy's muffin business has too much competition, Roy gets injured when the tire Ashley fixed comes off his bike, and Jared decides to hide his money in his lunch box because he was so suspicious everyone was out to rob him.

When Whit comes back to see how everyone is doing, both Nathaniel and Ashley offer Whit's money back and tell him their struggles to make their businesses work. Though Jared felt he had successfully defended his money, Whit felt he had done nothing constructive by hoarding it, so Whit collected his money from him. Disappointed, Jared asks if it is wrong to save money, and Whit answers that it is not, but that God wants us to use all he has given us for his glory. If we do, he will give us more, but if we waste what he gives us, he will take it all away.

Discussion Questions

  1. Why did Jared think he had to hide his money?
    • Why did Whit collect his money at the end?
  2. Why did Whit allow Ashley and Nathaniel to keep their money at the end?
  3. Read Matthew 25:14-30. What similarities can you find to the episode?
    • What do you think Whit was trying to teach the kids?


Heard in episode

Role Voice Actor
Ashley Lawren Donahue
Mrs. DeWhite Unknown
Jared DeWhite Brandon Gilberstadt
John Whittaker Paul Herlinger
Mandy Straussberg Aria Curzon
Muffin Customer #1 Unknown
Muffin Customer #2 Unknown
Nathaniel Graham Blake Ewing
Pete Alex Keith
Roy Unknown
Randy Unknown

Mentioned in episode

Character Mentioned By
Margaret Faye Jared DeWhite
Mr. Greenblatt Jared DeWhite


  • The original title for this program was "The Parable of the Entrepreneur, The Sock Shooter, and the Ditch Digger," but it had to be changed because the full title wouldn't fit on the tape labels.
  • A glimpse of Whit's rarely-heard political opinions are suggested in this episode as he assures Jared that he would never ask the mayor to raise taxes.
  • The title of this episode is a play off of US President Harry Truman's famous slogan, "The buck stops here."
  • This episode's mud war sees the kids from First Street fighting against kids from Third Street. This is probably a reference to the show Recess, which takes place at Third Street Elementary School and featured acting by Blake Ewing, who plays Nathaniel Graham.
  • The name of the cookbook that the muffins are from, Becky Rocker, is a play off of Betty Crocker.



Jared DeWhite: Oh Mr. Whittaker, Mr. Whittaker you're good, very good. But not good enough.

Jared DeWhite: And you didn't ask the mayor to pass a new puberty tax?
John Whittaker: That's "property tax." And believe me, I would never ask the mayor to raise taxes!

Mandy Straussberg: Maybe you should spend that $25 on professional therapy!

Pete: You're either the bravest girl I know or the dumbest!