I’m going to tell a tale today.
I’ve read this old Chinese tale with two different endings, so I’ll give you both, and comment on them.
"There once was a wealthy man, who lived in a nice, comfortable mansion with many rooms. The rich man had many children, who were the joy of his life. They wanted for nothing, since he’d provided for everything their hearts desired."
"One day, while he was away, the mansion caught fire. The children were inside, and didn’t realize the danger they were in. Just then their father showed up at the door, and called to them from outside, telling them that the house was on fire and pleading for them to come out or they could die. The children didn’t know what ‘fire’ or ‘die’ meant, so they went on playing.
First ending: they perished in the fire. In our society we act in the same way as this father, we give our children all that we possibly can, sometimes both parents working to have enough to pay the bills. We shelter our children from all that’s evil in the world in such way that they don’t know what or where the dangers are. Dying in the fire means that the things of the world will bring us some kind of death: physical or spiritual, all we have to do is watch the news.
Second ending: the father promised his children even more presents and they were finally lured out of the burning house. Do we do this to our children, promising or giving them plenty of material possessions? Most of the time children don’t need much to grow up physically, mentally and emotionally balanced.
Whichever way we want to see this tale, the father loved his children very much. Was he overindulgent or just loving?
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