Friday, July 30, 2010


The Lost Lesson in the Parable of the Prodigal Son

One lesson I see in the parable of the prodigal son is one I'm not sure I've ever heard discussed, at any length at least. Most of us know the story of the long lost son who returns home after having squandered all the money his father had given him and his father had given him up for dead.

The father orders a great celebration. His other son, who had been loyal and worked hard for his father is upset.
The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. But he answered his father, "Look! All these years I've been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!"

"My son," the father said, "you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found."
"...and everything I have is yours." The father does not forget his loyal son. Indeed, he remembers him and ultimately saves the greatest reward for him.

As parents, many times I think we focus too much on a child having problems and forget to reward the child who performs well. Especially if that child performs well consistently, we may take them for granted.

I try to follow the path of reinforcing success. I never use a set pattern or a "bribe" system where I tell my kids I'll give them something for making good grades or something. I'll just give them something extra at unexpected times but let them know its a small reward for their good performance. I'm careful to be low key about it. To much praise or pomp and circumstance turns it into an obvious ploy.

Never turn you back on the "loyal" child. Gently remind them that everything you have is theirs, figuratively if not literally.

Great advice! It can be easy to pay more attention to a troublesome child.
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