Thursday, March 27, 2008

Three Questions

There's a children's book by Jon J. Muth called The Three Questions. It's based on a story of the same name by Leo Tolstoy.

A young boy is searching for answers:

  • "When is the best time to do things?"
  • "Who is the most important one?"
  • "What is the right thing to do?"
The book concludes:

"Remember then that there is only one important time, and that time is now. The most important one is always the one you are with. And the most important thing is to do good for the one who is standing at your side. For these, my dear boy, are the answers to what is most important in this world.

This is why we are here."1

We denominate our business achievements in some currency (Euro, Pounds, Dollars, Francs, Yen...) but the richness of our lives is determined by how we interact with other people. We don't always get this right. Sometimes we get it horribly wrong. When we do, we hope it is not so wrong that we are disallowed the opportunity to ask and answer these questions again.

To live this is difficult enough. Being on the receiving end while somebody else gradually comes to grips with it is a challenge - and privilege - of parenting.

1 Excerpts from Muth, Jon J. The Three Questions Scholastic Press, 2002.