Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Now a thought about peace from a favorite author

The best snowman ever!
By Bob Perks
All stories copyright 2007

It just came up in a casual conversation. It was one of those times whena young child asks a simple question expecting a very complex answer, but then, much to the delight of the child, hears a simple one.

It didn't carry the weight of "Where do babies come from?"

It didn't require a dissertation on religion in the 21st century.

It did however need to satisfy this child's curiosity.

It was late on a snowy Saturday afternoon. The young boy and his fatherwere cleaning up the remaining leaves and branches that fell during the windy approach of the snow storm. They stopped for a moment and sat quietly watching the snow fall.

Both were bundled up from head to toe. Mom insisted, "Im the one who will have to take care of you if you catch a cold."

So they complied adding a scarf and hat as they walked out the door.

"Dad, my friend told me that every snowflake is different," the child said.

"I believe that is true," dad replied.

There was silence.

"How do we know that?" the child asked.

Dad, now smiling, turned toward his son and said, "We just do."

Not a good answer at all. It falls into that category of "Because I said so."

"But they look all the same to me," the child added.

Now dad feels obligated to come up with a more satisfying answer.
One so profound that his son will remember this moment for years to come.

"Son, snow flakes are like people. God makes everyone of us different. We are each unique in a very special way. How do we know that? We just do," he said.

Oh, what a let down. He was doing so well. Any time you can bring God into the answer, you're heading in the right direction. I mean, when
you say "God did this" or "God wanted it this way," then you're covering
all the bases. But he went back to the original answer and blew it all...
"We just do."

The child stood up, put out his hand and watched as the snow landed
on his glove.

"They are different," the boy said. "Like people."

It worked. I was wrong the boy was satisfied with Dad's answer.

Then came the big question.

"When they are all together they are so beautiful," he said.

Then sitting down next to his dad, he looked up and asked, "Then
why don't they get along?"

"The snow flakes?" dad asked.

"No, people, dad. Why don't people get along? If people are like
snow flakes and each one is unique and special like you said,
why don't they get along?"

Wow, that's a good question. One deserving a good answer.

"I mean, when you look at these snow flakes on my glove they are all different.
When you look at the snow in the yard, all together, they look the
same. Together they are even more beautiful."

What a moment. One I believe that will hold a special place in
dad's heart forever.

But how do you answer that?

Dad sat there for a moment thinking.

"Choice," he said.

"Choice?" the child asked.

"One of the greatest gifts that God has given us is the gift of choice. As different as we all are, we have one thing in common. We can
choose what we do, how we dress, where we live, and how we
treat each other. "

"So choice is a bad thing?" the boy asked.

"Only when we choose the wrong things. Only when we make choices that go against God's plan for us."

"How do we know what's right and what's wrong?" the child asked.

Dad looked around now struggling to build upon this moment. Yes, it would have been easy to fall back on "We just do." But he was in
special place right now. He was given the chance to build upon
the very foundation of his son's faith.

Dad nervously shuffled his foot in the snow as he searched his
heart for just the right answer.

"Let's say all of this snow was all the people of the world . You are
right, together they are beautiful. They are now given the gift of choice. They realize how well they work together so they begin to build."

Dad reaches down and divides the snow into two sides.

"Both sides acknowledge their differences. One says, "Let's get
together and build upon those differences. Let's do things that will
help the world. The other side says the same thing, but can't come
to an agreement on how to do it, so they each break off into
separate piles."

Dad stops for a moment and looks at his son.

"Do you understand so far?"

"Yes, I think so," the boy replied.

Then, without saying another word, dad continued to work with the snow.

On the first side he builds three large snow balls. On the other he
builds several smaller ones.

"Which side did the right thing?" he asked the boy.

The child looked at both sides and couldn't come up with an answer.

"Dad, I don't know."

Then dad stands up and places the three larger snow balls on top
of each other.

"It's a snow man!" the boy shouts.

"Now who did the right thing?"

"The snow man!" he replies with enthusiasm.

"Yes, all these people came together and recognizing how special each of them were, they joined in an effort to build up mankind,"
dad said.

The child then stood up and gathered an arm full of the smaller snow balls. Then, one by one he began to throw them at the other small piles of snow.

"What are you doing?" dad asked.

"This is what happens when people can't work together. They call it war,"
he said.

Dad was stunned. He stood up, lifted the boy and held him tightly.

Whispering in his ear he said, "I pray to God that your world will learn to
work and live together."

The boy leaned back in the comfort and protection of his father's arms, looked at him and said, "I will make the right choice.
I will learn to build the best snowman ever."

"I believe in you!" Bob Perks

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