Once Upon A Time

A fable for parents by Dr Koa Whittingham (www.koawhittingham.com)


Parents have many wishes for their children. But what should we prioritise? 

Once upon a time, there lived three happily married couples.  The couples were good friends so it was a happy discovery that all three wives were with child at the same time. As the months went by, three pregnant bellies began to swell and the three couples became increasingly excited. All three couples were determined to do the best by their child.


Towards the end of the pregnancies, when all three couples were excitedly awaiting the arrival of their babies, a stranger came to visit. 


The visitor was tall and strong with gleaming snow-white skin and piercing blue eyes. He was dressed in a most peculiar way, a garment that looked like a dress, except that it was bright and shiny and seemed to shift and flow of its own accord.  Certainly, the stranger was not of this world.


The visitor spoke, “I’ve come to offer each of you a wish, a wish for your child.  Whatever you wish for today will come true.”


“Are you a wizard?” the husband of the third couple asked.


“No questions about me. Just the wish,” the visitor answered.


“Well, how does this wish work?” the wife of the second couple asked.


“You choose a particular characteristic that you wish for your child, a characteristic that you, as parents, can foster.  From today onwards, your parenting will be guided towards enhancing that characteristic.”


The husband of the first couple frowned, “But we all want our children to have many characteristics, don’t we?  Why do we have to pick just one?”


“You don’t have to pick anything,” the visitor answered, “I’m offering you the opportunity to receive guidance in enhancing one particular characteristic. Your children will still develop many characteristics and you’ll still be able to choose what you do as parents at any given moment. But you’ll be able to sense, you’ll just know, what action to take as a parent in order to enhance the particular characteristic that you’ve chosen.”


“I’m not sure about this,” the wife of the third couple said, “I’ve read fairy tales. There’s usually a catch with wishes, isn’t there?  Maybe we shouldn’t wish at all.”


The visitor shrugged, “Suit yourself but be honest, you’ve already got priorities, haven’t you?  All you have to do is name your top priority and you’ll be guided toward it.  But if you’d prefer to parent blind…”


“Hmm…” the husband of the third couple frowned, “When you put it like that…”


“It sounds like a brilliant opportunity…” the husband of the second couple finished.


“Well,” the wife of the first couple said, “I think I know what we should wish for.  If we wish for obedience then we can easily shape our child in other ways, too. They’ll have whatever characteristics we want! What do you think, dear?”