I’ve always loved the story of the prodigal son, not just because of the redemption at the core of it but because I have a special history with it. My first Bible was given to me by my dad’s cousin- my aunty Chinanu, she spent some time with us when I was six. I wanted a Bible with my name on it so I asked her to buy me one. She did better, she gave me her own red King James Bible. She was more than just a super aunt and namesake, she also was the person I wanted to be like when I grew up, with her love for God and family, her kindness and warmth a big inspiration then and now.
I loved reading the story of the prodigal son and the story of Lazarus and the rich man, I’d flit from story to story daily. They were the only parts of the new testament the six year old me read, I preferred the old testament back then. The stories were cool! Giants and Shepherds, Kings and witches, talking donkeys and lion killing judges, snakes on poles and the story of creation.
Anytime I read the story of the prodigal son or remember it, my sympathy would tilt towards the older son. I guess it’s because I’m a first child and I know how approval driven we usually are. I also know how it’s like to be a “good kid” and watch your parents fail to scold your brother and maybe even pat him on the back for something they’d have skinned you alive for. I always thought it unfair that his father sounded rather patronising in telling him to rejoice without understanding the real source of his pain- his father hadn’t shown visible approval or appreciation of his own efforts.
Appreciation is the lubricant to most relationships, it’s not just about appreciating what someone has done for you but also appreciating who they are to you. It’s very easy to assume that X knows what he or she means to you or that they know you value their efforts and contributions but very often they have no idea what they mean to you. Think about it….
On the other hand its also easy to feel overused and undervalued but the other person in the relationship may not know you see things that way. He or she might even feel they are being appreciative and supportive. Funny right? This myopia on both sides. This is common in vertical relationships especially official ones.
I’m glad you’ve read this post to this point. I appreciate the fact that by some means you’ve come here and you’re reading my thoughts and words. I’d like you to take a little time to appreciate the people in your life today, family, coworkers, foid seller etc. Tell them how much you value their presence in your life. The world will be a much better place.