Sisters and Brothers

by | Jun 7, 1998 | Acceptance, Family, Love

That wise and sensitive poet Shel Silverstein wrote a short verse he called “The Little Boy and the Old Man.” It goes like this:

Said the little boy, “Sometimes I drop my spoon.”

Said the little old man, “I do that too.”

The little boy whispered, “I wet my pants.”

“I do that too,” laughed the little old man.

Said the little boy, “I often cry.”

The old man nodded, “So do I.”

“But worst of all,” said the boy, “it seems

Grown-ups don’t pay attention to me.”

And he felt the warmth of a wrinkled old hand.

“I know what you mean,” said the little old man.

We are really not so different, are we? Old and young. Male and female. Those of us from one nationality or another, this political bent or that. This race or that race. Those from one social class and those from another. Don’t we feel the same things? Desire the same things? And don’t we laugh at the same things and have similar problems?

A wonderful story tells about an old rabbi who one day called his disciples and asked the question, “How do you know when the night is giving way and the morning is coming?”

One of the young disciples stood and said, “Teacher, isn’t it when, through the dim light, you can see an animal and discern whether it is a sheep or a dog?”

The rabbi said, “No.”

Another raised his hand and said, “Rabbi, could it be that, when in the mist of the morning, you can finally look at a tree and know whether it is a fig tree or an olive tree?”

Again the rabbi said, “No.” Then he elaborated: “You’ll know that the night has passed when you can look at any man and any woman and discern that you are looking at a brother or a sister. Because, until you can see with that clarity, the night will always be with us.”

What do you see when you gaze upon those around you — when you watch television, shop for food and read of international concerns — do you see sisters and brothers? Because, when we see with that clarity, the night will give way and the light of day will dawn upon a new and beautiful humanity.

© 2000 Steve Goodier

Thanks to Life Support


Sisters and Brothers