Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Two Kind of Men

We are still enjoying Little Britches.  It is a mixed bag with various weaknesses, including fairly frequent profanity (which I edit out).  However, when it is good it is various good, particularly in the interaction between the main character boy and his father.  In what we read this evening the boy has been told only fools work with their hands and others are owed a living.  When he shares this with his father as they are milking the cows, the father, who doesn’t typically say much, says:

“Son … There are only two kinds of men in this world.  Honest men and dishonest me.  There are black men and white men and yellow men and red men, but nothing counts except whether they’re honest men or dishonest men.
“Some men work almost entirely with their brains; some almost entirely with their hands; though most of us have to use both.  But we all fall into one of the two classes- honest and dishonest.
“Any man who says the world owes him a living is dishonest.  The same God that made you and me made this earth. And He planned it so that it would yield every single thing that the people on it need. But he was careful to plan it so that it would only yield up its wealth in exchange for the labor of man. Any man who tries to share in that wealth without contributing the work of his brain or his hands is dishonest.
“Son, this is a long sermon for a boy of your age, but I want so much for you to be an honest man that I had to explain it to you.”

That is a good word.  The son reflects,

“I wish I knew how Father was able to say things so as to make you remember every word of it.  If I could remember everything the way I remember the things Father told me, maybe I could be as smart a man as he was.” (177)

This is a good portrait of father son interaction reminiscent of Proverbs (cf. 3:1).

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