Archive | March 16, 2021

Ranty Tuesday: the not so prodigal son

I have always been annoyed by the story of the prodigal son.

What about the good son?

He’s worked hard. He stuck by his father. He persevered. He showed commitment and stick-with-it-ness. Day after day, he just got on with his routine. Maybe he wanted an adventure. Maybe he wanted some fun. But work had to be done. Money was not to be wasted, not to be squandered. He probably practised frugality alongside his father on the farm.

And what happens? His brother, who had been off having fun and having an adventure, gets the party. Do you know what prodigal means? Wastefully extravagant; spending recklessly and freely. That guy’s already had his party. He had nothing but party when he squandered his share of the money.

It’s like people who get cheered for getting out of debt. Or losing excessive weight. Or giving up drugs.

What about the person who day after day practises economy or good choices? Where’s their cheering? Where’s the interest in how they do what they do, did what they did?

Imagine a woman’s magazine having a front page headline: “Susie: how I haven’t got fat.” Or “Lizzie shares her story of not putting her money into pokies”. Or “Read inside for the scoop on how this woman goes to work every day, day after day, on time, for decades.”

So here’s to all the non-prodigals! Here’s cheers to you!

(PS: even if I was religious, I’d still be annoyed with the parable. Yeah, I get the analogy – believers squander God’s Grace but he’ll welcome you back. Still, give the party to the son who stayed and have the party-guy prove himself before he gets a big welcome back party – not just come back because he’s run out of money and there’s a famine in which the pigs are eating better than he was, and “Hey, let’s have a party”. Let the wasteful one do some work first. You know he’ll still want some more of the inheritance when the father dies.)