A Modern Day Parable of the Tenants


There was once a man who owned a beautiful estate which he, and his family enjoyed very much. One day the man had to travel overseas for business and wouldn’t be back for some time. He entrusted the care of the estate to his children. They were welcome to have parties and invite others as long as they observed some basic rules.

In the days and weeks which followed many came and stayed at the estate enjoying all it had to offer. But after a while the children began to worry about what their friends might think of their father and his rules. They loved their father and they wanted their friends to love him too. But some of his rules seemed a bit old fashioned and out of date. They talked, reflected, and decided that some of their father’s rules reflected his own generation – a different era where attitudes were different. So they changed some of those rules (or removed them all together) to bring them up to date. Some of the rules were difficult to understand and they figured that if their father were there he wouldn’t mean them quite as they read, so they edited or removed those too. And some of the rules at first glance seemed a bit stern – a bit unaccepting if you will – so they found new ways to explain what they really meant. After all, the important thing was to get their friends to come and enjoy the party, and love their father for his generosity as much as they did. No-one wants to do that if their are too many rules or the landlord seems a bit fuddy-duddy.

And so one day the father returned to find his estate not quite as beautiful as he’d left it, and to find that people had ignored the rules he carefully gave. Of course those dwelling on the estate were a bit surprised to find the landlord not at all like they imagined him – not at all like the children had presented him. He was a bit more conservative and a lot less liberal than they’d been led to believe. The father they so admired didn’t, as it turned out, exist. The trespassers were quickly removed much to their dismay. They hadn’t meant to break any rules. The children simply hadn’t told them the whole picture. The children would later have to give their own account to their father.

A few of the new estate dwellers, however, were allowed to stay. They’d been tucked away in a little room. They had read the rules for themselves and decided best to keep them. They were labelled old fashioned kill-joys – ‘if only they had the imagination to see what the rules really meant’ said the rest. But they held fast. They read the rules. They considered why the father might have given them. They didn’t understand everything and wondered about this or that. Yet they decided it was the landlords estate, and he probably knew better than they did why the rules were for their good. So while the disobedient children were allowed to stay, it was the faithful estate dwellers who were now entrusted with its administration.

And those who didn’t mess with the landlords rules lived happily ever after.

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