On a daily basis this man studied his scrolls and any other scrolls that brought him closer to wisdom. The words engraved on the beautiful scroll that had been giving to him by Elder were:
As the old man felt his life coming to an end he sent word to each of his children to come to see him immediately, as they each arrived the fighting began. The old man listened and it brought sorrow to his heart that his own children could not even come to see him in his last days without insulting and fighting among themselves. When he could take no more he rose from his sick bed and commanded them to stop. He had them follow him in silence to the dinning room and had them all sit down. A table was set up for them already and the best flatware was laid out at the table. everything was perfect, except for a stick that was lying on the plate. Everyone was baffled and could not drum up the words to ask why was there a single stick sitting on each of their plates. The old man noticed the perplexed look that his children had, and he began to giggle.
"Now before any of you accuse me of being out of my mind, or think that I have that "old man disease". I want to assure you of my sanity. I had my servants set the table for you, and yes I had them put a stick upon the plate." The old man said with a look of joy that only comes when you now something that others don't.
The eldest brother looked at his father, then at his brothers and sisters, at the plate and then back at his father.
"Father, do you expect us to eat these sticks." The senior brother said looking at his father with a very serious look of concern.
"Yes and no", the father said with a smile, and before anyone could respond.
"No I don't expect you to eat them physically, but I pray that you eat them mentally because within those sticks is the wealth, success, joy, and power that all of you are seeking."
The father began laughing, and his children also laughed although you could tell they felt uneasy. This was a confusing time for them, they were not use to this type of behavior from their father, and plus he looked physically frail.
The father leaned forward using the table to support himself as he rose to his feet slowly. Looking at each one of his children for a moment before speaking.
"My beautiful sons and daughters, you all have made me very proud. Even though you fight amongst yourselves as if you were still young babes, each of you have made your mark on the world. As all of you know my moments in this phase of life is drawing to a close, and I have to decide who I will pass my earthly earnings to. As I said each of you have made your mark on the world, but have failed to make a mark in each other's heart."
Pausing to take a sip of water, slowly bringing the cup to his mouth before he continued.
"What I fear the most is that I have failed you as a father! For I know in my heart that each of you would rather have my material wealth rather than the knowledge that helped me build it."
Resting both of his arms on the table and dropping his head in sorrow or maybe shame. He waited for a response from his children.
He heard the voice of his second oldest child shout out.
"That is not true!"
She stood to her feet, and looked at all her brothers and sisters before she spoke.
"I think that I speak for all of us, you have done all that you could to raise us, and you definitely have not failed."
Pausing and looking around the table for confirmation, she continued to speak.
"We are not as foolish as you may think, for us to take your wealth and ignore the wisdom that produced it would be the equivalent of us taking a few nuggets of gold in trade for the rights of the mine. You have taught us better than that."
The old man looked up with a smile.
"Does my daughter speak the truth?"
All at once the children responded.
"She speaks the truth!"
The old man slowly sat down in his chair with a look of disbelief on his face.
"Then if what she is saying is the truth then today all of you will demonstrate what you have learned from me."
Taking a deep breath and closing his eyes to think.
"I named each one of you after a principle that I needed in my life at the time of your birth, Unity, Determination, Responsibility, Gratitude, Purpose, Creativity, and Trust. I often told all of you stories that I hoped would give you the secrets to living a good life. Now in my final days you will give back to me what I gave to you. You say that I taught you well, now it is time for the students to show that they have become the teachers. Each of you will be tasked with reaching back into your childhood and sharing with me this moment one of my stories and the lesson or lessons it taught you. When everyone has shared I will decide who I will leave my wealth too."
All the children sat back in silence and shock. There father had told them thousand of stories, but to regurgitate one right now on the spot without preparation seemed like a daunting task. Plus he hadn't told them a story sense they entered adulthood, or maybe he told them but they stopped listening long ago.
"We will start right now with the oldest."
Looking directly at his oldest son.
"Unity you are up."