There are only four men in my life: my Dad, my two sons, and Mr. Snuffalufagus.
And I love them all.
My Dad is my (as well as all his clients’) ultimate “go-to” person in times of trouble.
Going to him for direction and enlightenment reminds me of the proverbial trek, in hope for an audience with the Wise One. (Think: Yoda and the Wizard of Oz).
From Dad, one may get the most practical answers
or the most difficult lessons in life.
A situation that usually stands out among family members involves sibling relationships.
In a family of more than one child ( in my case, we are ten children), it is impossible to expect parents to pour out “equal” affection upon all their children.
One may love all his children, but one or some may occupy a softer spot in a parent’s heart.
As children, we assume that the ones who bring home the accolades from school or contests are the ones who are looked upon with favor.
After all, weren’t we disciplined at a young age using the simple concepts of reward and punishment?
As good children, we strive to be pleasing always to our parents’ eyes.
Only a disturbed child would use ill behavior to call attention to himself
But what happens when the balance of favor is tilted towards the more problematic sibling or the not-so-white-sheep (help! I’m trying to be politically correct here) of the family ?
More often than not, we roll our eyes while watching these animals, rather, sheep, being smothered with exaggerated attention and excessive material support. And while the solicitous parent is at it, the good ones are temporarily forgotten, sometimes taken for granted. Sniff-sniff.
In protest, the good child seeks the counsel of the Wise One.
In answer, the Wise One gently reminds the good child of the Parable of the Lost Sheep, where the shepherd who loses one out of the one hundred sheep he has, leaves behind the 99 good ones in order to seek out the one lost sheep. To my mind, more apropos would be the Parable of the Prodigal Son, where the father rejoices and celebrates over the return of the squanderer while temporarily forgetting the faithful and obedient son. (See also the Parable of the Lost Coin).
While we were students, we glossed over lessons which we heard often in school. Most of the time, we simply learned them by rote in order to pass or ace theology exams.
How we now struggle with applying them in our daily lives reminds us of why they are called lessons in the first place:
We may not always like them but we need to learn them