Six Opinions

Six Opinions (1,167)

June 4th, 2011

I had the pleasure of being present at the conception of four sons and the delight in adopting three others. As many of you know, one of the fine lads was struck by a car and suffered a severe brain injury that left him challenged for his remaining years until pneumonia took him from us. That left me with six surviving gentlemen, each one now pursuing his own desires and dreams.

The fascinating thing about this experience of fatherhood and raising children is that all six of those sons—each in his own way—has a different opinion about me. Even though I feel the most important part of being a good parent is consistency, that does not mean that your children will interpret your actions in an equally balanced way.

Case in point: I have one son who would say he loves me very much, but that I’m kind of a hard ass—extremely focused on my own concerns. He would say that I’m usually highly successful but that I lack some of the “people skills” he would prefer in his own dealings with others.

I have another son that would insist that I have the wisdom of Solomon. He would also contend that I possess the poetic skill of David. He would consider me a confidante and a source of knowledge and understanding in times of need.

Yet another one of my offspring would gladly inform you that I was an amazing combination of Johnny Appleseed, the Apostle Paul and Mick Jagger. He thinks I’m funny and a bit bawdy—and in the process, he quietly garners little nuggets from my life that he chooses to apply in his own way.

How about the next one? He thinks I’m a quiet, creative force of nature with the soul and depth of Gandhi, and that I have an intrinsic ability to ascertain information from all corners to determine the best path to choose. Although he probably thought I was a little hard on him when he was growing up, he now proclaims the wisdom of my choices and would tell you that without them he would have been in trouble.

To the fifth one I would be a set of ears, with a word of encouragement—probably not present enough for his taste, but never absent too long in the hour of need. He possibly doesn’t share all of my faith nor beliefs, but quietly respects the success of my ventures and the energy of my convictions.

And the final dear heart would probably tell you that I’m a little old fashioned, too religious and a bit out of touch with what the present generation considers to be fun. He likes me personally and treasures the times he has to be with me, but would rather I keep many of my ideas to myself, so that he doesn’t have to contradict them with his lifestyle.

Six different opinions.

Oh, three are things they all would agree upon. I think they all think I’m funny. They all think I’m reasonably nice. They all would probably concede to my generosity and to my creativity. But as far as their personal representation of who I am—well, that would differ considerably.

At last count, there were over three hundred and fifty different denominational interpretations of the teachings of Jesus. (It’s not getting less, by the way.) Three hundred and fifty different children expressing their opinion on what their Father is like. Could they all be right? Or are they all sufficiently wrong enough that their opinions are at least subjective, if not erroneous? Is the truth a conglomeration of all their thoughts, or the careful subtraction of many of the misguided concepts to the uplifting of the greater ones?

It’s hard to tell because no one ever sits down in a room with all three hundred and fifty at a time to come to a consensus.

Matter of fact, this same would be true if all six of my sons were gathered in a conference room to derive a common understanding of my personality. It would start out in conversation, move on to debate and culminate in a fierce argument.

So if I—being a mortal man—appear to be so complex to my own children, who slept in the same house with me, what are we to do with a Nazarene who lived two thousand years ago, whom we never actually met face to face?

No, I guess we should be grateful that there aren’t millions of denominations in our world. Are there things that we can agree upon in the discussion? I don’t know. What do you think my six sons would find irrefutable about me? How about this?

I am their dad and I love them very much.

That’s a good start.

Published in: on June 4, 2011 at 2:57 pm  Leave a Comment  
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