Dad, Can I Do That Again?
--by Richard, posted Jul 11, 2008
I was teaching a class in business ethics, and we were dealing with the question, What is a good human being? Can you be a successful businessman and also be a morally good man or woman at the same time, or do these two goals work against each other? Or to what extent do they coincide and to what extent do they oppose each other? It’s a very interesting question, and a very central question for our society now in all kinds of ways.
At a certain point during the discussion, one of the students -- a young man of about thirty -- described an event that took place at Christmas. He and his five-year-old son were decorating the tree, and a little boy came to the front door begging. If you ever visit Mexico, you will see that there the people take begging as very much a normal part of life, nothing to get all upset about and nothing to get embarrassed by or excited about. You just accept it and you give what you can. It’s very much a way of life to help the
So, this little boy came to the door, a boy about the same age as my student’s son.
The father and the son went to the front door, and the father went back with his five-year-old son and said to him, “Give him one of your toys.”
So the little boy picked up some old toy, and his father said to him, “No, no – give him your favorite toy.”
And the little boy, like the little tiger, said, “No way!” He cried, he refused. But the father – this is a true story – the father, like the big tiger in a way, insisted gently, “No, you must give him one of your favorite toys.”
And finally the boy, with his head down, picked up a toy he had just gotten, and the father waited in the living room, and the boy walked to the front door with the toy in his hand. And the father waited and waited.
And what do you think happened?
After a couple of minutes his son came running back into the living room, his face radiant. “Daddy,” he said, “can I do that again?”
[--by Jacob Needleman in Goodrich Lecture at Indian Springs School]
Very inspiring indeed.
Thank you for sharing this story.