After dinner, a man was asked by his children to tell them a story.
“What would you like to hear?” he asked his children.
“A story about a giant!” his youngest son exclaimed.
“Yes. Yes! A big giant!” exclaimed the kids.
After a short pause, the dad began his story.
“Once upon a time there were two small boys who asked their fathers to take them to see the great parade that passed through the village every ten years. The fathers, remembering the parade from when they were boys, quickly agreed, and the next morning the four of them set out together.
“As they approached the parade route, people started to push in from all sides, and the crowd grew thick. When the people along the way became almost a wall, the small boys became pinned in the forest of legs and backs. So each father lifted his son and placed him on his shoulders.
“Soon the parade began and as it passed, one boy was so caught in the moment that he forgot his father completely, except for a shouted complaint every few minutes: “Lift me higher, higher, higher, so I can see.” The father, loving his son, strained his muscles upward, struggling to give his young son the best view. The son hardly noticed. “Higher!” he cried.
The other boy, too, watched the parade from his father’s shoulders. But this boy kept telling his father how wonderful it was and how spectacular were the colors and images. He shared his perspective with his father, describing in detail every band uniform, every float, and every clown. The father, blocked from seeing by the press of people, smiled and took in each word of his son. In his mind, he remembered the parade he had once watched as a boy. “Oh, Father, Thank you!” the boy said. ‘If only you could see what I see.’
With a smile, the father answered, “I can see it fine, my son.”
The family had been listening to the story with rapt attention. Then, as if he had finished the story, the man stopped speaking.
“Is that it?” said a disappointed girl. “We thought you were going to tell us a story about a giant.”
“But I did,” said the dad. “I told you a story about a giant.”
“We didn’t hear about a giant,” squealed the children.
The dad answered, “One boy in the story was a giant.”
“Which boy?” asked one son. “Maybe one was taller,” replied his brother.
“A giant,” said the dad, “is anyone who remembers we are all sitting on someone else’s shoulders. And that what we have in front of us is really a gift given to us from another.”
“And what does it make us if we don’t remember?” asked the youngest boy.
“A burden,” answered the dad.
God has brought down the high from their thrones, but has lifted up the humble. (Luke 1:52)
Enhanced from a story by Steve Moore, “A Graceful Goodbye” Leadership (Summer 2002), pp.41-42