So my sister and our boyfriends decided to get together to play Munchkin
tonight, and we started to discuss how unfair my parents are to her.
She's almost 20 and I'm 21, and I've been allowed to stay at boy's
houses since I was 18 but my sister still isn't allowed to have her
boyfriend over during the day when nobody is home and they freaked out
when she said she was going to be going on a road trip with him and said
they'd be staying in a hotel. We both know that my dad treats her like
this because she's the baby, but my sister revealed to me that my mom
treats her like that for much different reasons. Apparently my mom sees
this as some sort of in real life retelling of the parable of the
prodigal son in the bible. For those of you unfamiliar with that
parable, here's what wikipedia summarizes it as:

"The parable begins with a young man, the younger of two sons, who asks his father to
give him his share of the estate. The parable continues by describing
how the younger son travels to a distant country and wastes all his
money in wild living. When a famine strikes, he becomes desperately poor
and is forced to take work as a swineherd. When he reaches the point of
envying the pigs he is looking after, he finally comes to his senses:

But when he came to himself he said, "How many hired servants of my
father's have bread enough to spare, and I'm dying with hunger! I will
get up and go to my father, and will tell him, 'Father, I have sinned
against heaven, and in your sight. I am no more worthy to be called your
son. Make me as one of your hired servants.'"

He arose, and came to his father. But while he was still far off, his father saw him,
and was moved with compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed

– Luke 15:17-20, World English Bible

The son does not even have time to finish his rehearsed speech, since the father
calls for his servants to dress him in a fine robe, a ring, and
sandals, and slaughter the "fattened calf" for a celebratory meal. The
older son, who was at work in the fields, hears the sound of
celebration, and is told about the return of his younger brother. He is
not impressed, and becomes angry:

But he answered his father, "Behold, these many years I have served you, and I never disobeyed a
commandment of yours, but you never gave me a goat, that I might
celebrate with my friends. But when this, your son, came, who has
devoured your living with prostitutes, you killed the fattened calf for

– Luke 15:29-30, World English Bible

The parable concludes with the father explaining that because the younger son had
returned, in a sense, from the dead, celebration was necessary:

"But it was appropriate to celebrate and be glad, for this, your
brother, was dead, and is alive again. He was lost, and is found."

– Luke 15:32, World English Bible"

Basically my mother has given up on me, and told my sister that when I hit rock
bottom and come crawling back that it will be cause for celebration.
Meanwhile my sister is the favorite and isn't being rewarded or
something. I don't know. Why is my mom so crazy?

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Comment by John Camilli on January 1, 2011 at 11:51am

Oh my gosh, how emarrassing. I am not a theist, but I was raised catholic, so I am familiar with the prodigal son parable, and I can tell that your mom does not understand the point of the story. The returning son's intentions were to do what is necessary to survive, not to stay in someone else's good graces. The son who obeyed all the rules was only doing so to retain the lifestyle he had, and to appease his father, whilst the prodigal son had given up hope of being called "good," and of living well-off. He is willing to humble himself to survive, thus he is rewarded with an even greater reception (the father does not know this, of course, but it's God's parable, not the fathers, and God would know his intentions).


Your mother is trying to cling to the "good son," not realizing that it isn't people's willingness to serve us that makes them "good." It is only a person's willingness to serve their self, and their lack of desire for gain and benefit that makes them "good." A person is good when they learn to survive on their own, without impeding the survival of others, or through mutually beneficial arrangements (as the prodigal son who would have worked for his father in exchange for food and shelter).


Your mother and father are inhibitting your sister's ability to survive on her own by being over-protective. They are protecting an image of her that relies on them because they like to feel relied upon. In my opinion, most parents have children for this reason - to validate their existence. To me this is one of the greatest crimes a person can commit - to have a child so the child can do something for THEM, because THEY feel a void in their lives that the child will fill. How terrible to conceive a helpless life only to take and take and take from it, and how much worse to blind ourselves to this fact by calling over-protective parenting "love.

Comment by Shannon on January 1, 2011 at 4:03am

This is crazy.  It makes no sense whatsoever.  Don't try to make sense of it. 


I suspect you feel really bad about having been "given up" on.  Don't despair.  You know you have a life ahead of you. One day soon you'll not be dependent on them.  Try to meet them where they are and just flow with it.  You cannot change other people you can only comfort and reprogram yourself.



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