Today in my mind I'm thinking about fruit, prodigal sons, and phobias. Every year we hear the story of the prodigal son. You know it. This year we read Luke's version: Luke 15: 1-32. I always get a knot in my stomach. I always think how horrible the son is and how the son should be punished for his wayward behavior and surely not embraced. Admit it, you do, too. Why? Because we are human. Why should the prodigal son get a huge party when we were here working, paying tithes and taxes, making sure the family was clothed, fed, educates and with a roof over our heads? What's your answer? Do you see him coming and build a wall? Do you demand your inheritance and run off with reckless abandon until it's all gone? Then, I look at the message after I cool down. I stop comparing and competing for a moment. I look at the father in the parable and think, wow. What a great love? He loves us anyway regardless of our self indulgence, treachery, and sins. Sound familiar? I know it does if you have children. Here's the hardest thing about being a sibling: accepting that your parents have to love each child according to their individual needs. Every family has a prodigal child. Each child is gifted with different strengths and weaknesses. As a parent, you do expect more of your stronger children and expect less of the weaker child. How? Less responsibilities, less expectations, more chances, and (insert your own here.) Being a parent is the toughest job in the world. There is no manual for each type child you have, but within this parable there is an example of an ever loving father forgiving and accepting, loving, and nurturing each child where they are at each chapter of their lives. These children are fruit of the same tree, but very different. Did both get proper soil and water? Yes, but one took longer to mature. Was the fruit that ripened first not cherished? No, it was carefully loved and tended to throughout the growing season. Moral here is all varieties of children need love, acceptance, and forgiveness to mature and flourish in order to bring forth more "fruit." I know students, Ms. Alley is tutti fruity.
Now on the anniversary of 9/11, let's stretch this love, acceptance, and forgiveness point. After 9/11, students how did you feel? Who did you fear? Who did you loathe? Let's go back to December 7, 1941 students. How did America feel? Who did we fear? Who did we loathe? Indulge me students. Let's look at October 16-18, 1859. Hmm. Think students. It's an uprising in Harper's Ferry, Virginia. How did we feel? Who did we fear? Who did we loathe? There is a lesson. I promise. Let's go back to March 7, 1770. How did we feel? Who did we fear? Who did we loathe? No, not the Whos down in Whoville! The British, my cheeky students. What about AD 64-AD 313? Who did the Romans fear, loathe, and persecute? Is there a pattern? These are only a few and history is full of terrorism and phobias. Do you see why history is important? Do you see why love, acceptance, and forgiveness are so very hard but so very essential? The fear my students is
xenophobia. It has reared its head in every century. I think today's lesson is key in conquering the phobias that are plaguing our country and of course education is key, too! Never forget, but please forgive as we reflect September 11, 2016.
"If there is no struggle, there is no progress." Fredrick Douglass
Dedicated to all who want love, acceptance, and forgiveness.
Sarah Anderson Alley
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