how well do we see giants?

The best view of the parade.

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


  1. I wonder if some would use such a story to justify Obama’s “You didn’t build that!” statement in his presidential campaign. I personally think that entrepreneurs should have their due and be given credit for their sweat and determination. I see a difference between this story and the issues in the campaign but they are so close, I don’t know if everyone will. I hope this doesn’t get twisted around.

    • In my experience, politicos seek often to take credit for the things of others, even heaven, so as to appear better than they are, more generous, and more self-sufficient. EG: a good world economy, a good harvest, or the ingenuity and strong back of a working person is somehow tied to a government hand.

      The source and support here is not to be the government, nor any party or man. It is God who lifts us up so that we can see.

    • Yes, Obama was talking about the same thing as the lesson taught by that story. No one gets anywhere without the blessings of God. However, some people start out ahead of others based on their socio-economic position, race, nationality, etc. It is far easier to become a successful entrepreneur if your family has connections, or there is someone there to give you financial backing, or if your face is the same color as that of most of your contacts and customers. Also, a lot of people that have made it tend to think of their success as proof that God has chosen and has placed them above others. God often will allow people to succeed so that they can help someone else in some way. Poverty is not proof of a lack of God in one’s life. Nor, is it evidence of laziness or lack of morale fiber.

      The assumptions that people make regarding the poor are proof of poverty of Spirit. This is far worse than lacking material things. Obama was also speaking directly to politicians who rise in the ranks because of familial ties, Romney being one of these.

      Government benefits allow people to survive. The Bible directs us to help the poor and says that nations that oppress and ignore the plight of the poor will be judged accordingly. He says this over and over and over in the Bible but for some reason people chose to ignore it or try to interpret what is a plain and clear directive as being something else. Also, the reality is that the rich receive far more funds from the government than the poor in the form of tax breaks. Far more money is coming out of our pockets to keep the rich living in style than is going to feed the hungry.

      Obama was also talking about the government benefits we all receive like garbage collection, safe bridges to cross, education, police, fire departments, parks, etc.

  2. Wonderful story! Where did you get the picture? I’d like to identify the man and child. The father looks very much like my daughter’s grandfather.

    • This is an old photo from ACME NEWSPOSTS, whose web data says, “1937 New York May Day Parade Little Boy Daddy’s Shoulders Good View News Photo.”

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