Teaching by Parable

The parable has always been my favorite method of teaching. The reason is simple: People remember the story, and when they remember the story, they remember the lesson the story provided. As an example, the greatest storyteller of all time, the Carpenter from Galilee, told parable after parable. Incidentally, two-thirds of them had to do with our physical and financial well-being.

One of my favorite parables is that told by Dr. Dale E. Turner, titled, “The Lamplighter”: “Some people come into our lives and quickly go. Some stay for a while and leave footprints on our hearts — and we’re never, ever the same.

“Sir Harry Lauder, the Scottish humorist and singer, loved to tell about an old lamplighter in the village where he lived as a boy. Each evening, as dusk came, the old man would make his rounds with his ladder and his light. He would put the ladder against the lamppost; climb up and light the lamp; step back down; pick up the ladder; and proceed to the next lamp.

“‘After awhile,’ said Sir Harry, ‘he would be down the street and out of sight. But I could always tell which way he had gone from the lamps he had lighted and the glow he left behind.’ “Life’s highest tribute would be to live in such a way as to deserve the words, ‘I could always tell which way he went by the light he left behind.'”

Like the lamplighter, each one of us leaves a trail wherever he or she goes. Our responsibility, and surely our objective, is to leave a trail we would be willing for our sons and daughters to follow and, in the process, make our parents proud of the trail they left for us. Leave a good trail, and I’ll see you at the top!

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