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I read a story this week (by Bishop Tom Wright) about a Father who was preparing to go away on business for several weeks. He was anxious to make sure that his wife would be looked after during his time away and so he had a quiet word with his eldest son who was about 9 years old at the time. “When I’m away”, he said, “I want you to think about what I would normally do around the house; and then I would really like you to do it for me, as if I was here.” The Dad meant things like clearing up the table, doing the washing up, filling the dishwasher and putting out the rubbish every Tuesday morning for collection.

On his return he asked his wife what the son had done in his absence. “Well”, she said, “it was very strange. Every morning whilst you were away, straight after breakfast he made himself another cup of coffee, sat down in the lounge, put on some loud music, and read the newspaper for at least half an hour!” Perhaps the son carried out Dad’s instructions a bit too literally!

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