Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Alternative Christmas Message – Everyday Actualisation of “The Father and The Son”

The holy-days for Europe, the Americas, regions of Africa and parts of Australasia fast approach. Millennial-old phrases, both in original Latin and subsequently translated and condensed, will echo across Christendom.

The all encompassing “In nomine Patris et Filii, Spiritus Sancti” morphs into the short-hand of “Holy Father”, and will be recounted by many millions of people; the devout, even the rationally secular, and much in between.

Yet perhaps far more important for the tangible betterment of this world, is not that of the obviously ethereal relationship that exists between a person and the divine, which itself has been positively and negatively 'brokered' by the Church (in its many denominational forms), but in the filial sense relating to the all too human.

The relationship between parent and child, arguably the holiest of 'god given' connections.

At a time of increasingly fragmented society - wherein the reality of broken families becomes 're-affirmed' as 'patchwork families,' and the very creation of self-identity has become almost a 'pick and choose' affair within a cyber-promoted spectrum of social beliefs and possibilities – so more than ever the relationship between father and son (and its family variants) becomes increasingly important. Indeed critical.

Across the world millions connect to 'the being in the sky' for spiritual succour and guidance, putting belief in a faith-based process often because the all too human reality has crumbled through poor experience.

Christmas and the Nativity is the remembrance of when God sent his Son amongst the peoples to demonstrate a better way, this the very foci of the dynamic between parent and child. And obviously critical for any society is the passed-on learning of strong moral values, self-belief and associated determination, consideration of others and generally appropriate social behaviour.

Yet this all too typically becomes over-whelmed by the ever heavier personal requirements and ever more infantile distractions of contemporary society.

It is then necessary to invoke high profile examples of how the strength of a bond between a parent and a child has instilled the latter with not only good qualities, but vitally, the manner in which that child recognises and gives thanks for parental influence. The security provided, the moral, educational, physical and financial assistance given, and the sacrifices made to ensure the child could fulfil his or her own potential.

To this end investment-auto-motives juxtaposes the acclaimed gratitude shown by two high profile personalities; who themselves are public luminaries for the investment arena and automotive sector:

Mr Warren Buffett and Mr Lewis Hamilton

These two men - old and young – encompass the, nearly forgotten and socially invisible, virtue of fatherly (ie parental) reverence. Born into very different worlds, fifty-five years apart, but are of the same basic mindset: dedication and appreciation.

An oft told story directed to 'mom and pop' investors is that Buffett was born into comparative middle-class privilege, but just after the Great Depression hit, even as far inland as Omaha, Nebraska, USA. Although his father had himself endured hard times in that period, Buffett Snr rose to the rarefied ranks of a Congressmen; taking his hard earned humanitarianism with him to Washington; even if ideals were diluted the 'real politik' of Washington and slow pace of social change. It is perhaps because of that experience, that today Buffett prefers to give and pledge toward good causes directly and through associated foundations.

Hamilton was born in Stevenage, Hertfordshire, UK, the son of a 2nd generation Grenadian immigrant. His father undoubtedly faced his own very different subtle and not so subtle race-based battles in a New Town that was at the time ostensibly racially homogeneous. Importantly, it appears that he instilled into his own son a far rarer, far more important, 'mixed identity': that of steely ambition combined with seemingly good heart.

Yet what makes both men distinctive, beyond their respective career achievements, beyond their contrasting ages, and beyond their obvious success and wealth (not displayed by Buffett, and without conceit from Hamilton) is the fact that they both know instinctively and objectively, that without the enormous emotional and practical support of their fathers / parents, they would not have become the persons they are today; and as such possibly not have succeeded as far as they have in their professional ambitions.

Both demonstrate a humility in very different ways, that quality is present precisely because of their respective debt of gratitude to those who molded them.

So, as Christians today look to the 'Holy Father', parents and children of whatever age, whether present or passed-on, should look to the more tangible divine spirit that connects themselves.

And very consciously, demonstrate to and for each other, the best of themselves.