Many people are quite familiar with the parable of the prodigal son which can be read in Luke 15:11-31 in the New Testament of the Holy Bible. In case you forgot, and for those who still may have never heard about it, here’s a quick recall or summary:
There was a wealthy man who had two sons. The younger of the two asked his father for his share of the estate. The father, without asking any conditions from his younger son, divided the estate and gave the younger son his half. With his new-found wealth, the younger son went off to a faraway land where he squandered his money on extravagant, loose living.
After he had spent everything, that there was nothing left, a famine struck the land, forcing himself out to as lowly as farmhand tending to the pigs. It came to the point when, after much suffering, the young man decided to return home and to beg his father for forgiveness. As the younger son his father’s house, he was seen by the father who easily recognized him even from afar and run to hug him.
When the younger son finally entered the house of his father, the father, in great display of excitement and joy, commanded the servants to prepare a grand welcome party. But the older brother, upon learning about his brother’s return, became angry with his father for the lavish celebration. The older told his father, “I never disobeyed one of your orders, yet you never gave me so much as a kid goat to celebrate with my friends.”
The father replied: “My son, you are with me always, and everything I have will be yours. But we have to celebrate and rejoice! This brother of yours was dead and has come back to life. He was lost and is found.”
Jesus’s parable of the prodigal son should be a model for perfecting the father-son or father-daughter relationship. It showed a father’s great love for his children and of taking care so much about them. Here are some of the important lessons every parent could learn from the parable of the prodigal son:
A PARENT NEEDS TO LET HIS OR HER CHILDREN MAKE MISTAKES
From the parable of the prodigal son you can reflect on the kind of father who gives his son the freedom of choice. His younger son decides to choose on making mistakes. Of course, there’s nothing more anguishing for a parent than seeing his or her child gone astray.
The father understands very well what his younger son needs and so he has given him the opportunity to experiment, to find solutions, taking risks, and even to fail at attempted tasks. His younger son has come to spread so much of himself out for these kinds of things until he finally figured it out where he was and where he should be going. Everyone’s self-esteem, including that of a child, requires both relationships that could support their ability to solve problems as well as the lived experience of overcoming actual challenges.
A PARENT NEEDS TO HAVE A FERVENT PRAYER LIFE
The younger son’s decision to depart from his father by demanding to him, “Father, give me the share of the estate that is coming to me,” must have broken his father’s heart. A parent needs a spiritually astute soul in perceiving the reasonableness of a child’s request that initially seems extreme. A father who practiced and led a fervent prayer life can have the intervention of the Holy Spirit to guide and make him understand all of what’s happening.
A PARENT MUST BE A GENEROUS GIVER
Imagine what the father gives his reunited child—everything a father can give—only shows that the father wants to invest his son with the life of his own. The father recognizes just how much his formerly “bad boy” image son needs to be generated. When you’re generated, you will know you belong to one whose constant love is there sustaining you.
A PARENT SHOULD MAKE HOME A PLACE WORTH REMEMBERING AND RETURNING TO
Finally coming to his senses, the prodigal son has made a decision that will change his current status. He is now more than convinced to believe the fact that his salvation lies in returning to his father. When you try to find happiness apart from the Almighty Father, you’ll end up wanting, sorrowful, and impoverished.
In one way or another, a parent cannot predict or prevent turmoil that his or her child may be encountering but a good father or mother is one who creates in the present the memories that will sustain his or her child in future conflicts. He or she is most trustful and with unwavering hope that his or her sons and daughters will come to their senses and return to the fold—the right path.