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Christian author Max Lucado tells a parable that was related to him by a rabbi whom he met on an airline flight. In the parable, a CEO has an office on the top floor of a Manhattan skyscraper. Most people have not seen him, but they have met his daughter, who works in the building for her father.

Unfortunately, she exploits her family position by making demands on people. She orders the guard at the front door to go down the street and buy her a Danish. Reluctantly, the guard leaves his post and does as he is told. Meanwhile he is thinking, “If the daughter is so bossy, what does that say about her father?”

The daughter next encounters a secretary who is carrying an armload of papers. Stopping her, she orders her to forget her project and instead clean the daughter’s office. Since this is the boss’ daughter, what choice does the secretary have?

The daughter goes through her day, behaving in this irritating, demanding way. She never uses the name of her father to order people around, but the connection is obvious: “If she is so bossy, what does that say about her father?”

Now suppose the daughter undergoes a change of behavior. Suppose, instead of ordering the guard to get her a muffin, she brings him one. Suppose, instead of ordering the secretary to interrupt what she is doing, instead she helps the secretary. She expresses concern for the families of these employees, brings them coffee, and generally greets everyone in a spirit of concern and kindness.

Although she does not use the name of her father, now people are saying, “If the daughter is so kind, what must the father be like?” The rabbi pointed out, “They’ve not seen him. They’ve not met him. But they know his child, so they know his heart.”

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