This is not normal”, the Old man thought to himself.

“Why is he always receding to his room, away from the other children? This is not normal”,  the Old man thought to himself. “He’s barely been out of there since he returned from school a few days ago”. The Old man sensed something wasn’t altogether right with the Young man. He was certain of it! He should have been, after all he’d raised six children and learned from experience not to take for granted, the first signs of trouble.

To confirm his suspicion he sent for the Youth again calling out the Young man’s name to which he responded, rushing down to meet the old man. When he arrived before the old man, he was sent on a few errands and watched closely to see if he would stick around  after completing the assignment or head back to his “secret place”.  And sure enough, after the task was completed,  the Young man darted back upstairs into his room with near-lightning speed, leaving his peers.

The Old man had confirmed his suspicion. It was time to have a heart-to-heart talk with the young man.

There was a knock on the door. The Young man asked who it was and the Old man responded causing the Youth to jump to his feet , ushering in the Man-of-the-house respectfully. The Old man edged his way calmly in to the room, expecting his visit to be met with bewilderment and suspicion. And sure enough it did.

Halfway in to the room, the Old man paused. His eyes met with the Youth’s.  He read the suspicion off those delicate eyeballs and applied the principle of PARENT 101 in dealing with a difficult teenager; never go direct with your questions or else you’ll get a rehearsed answer.  So he distracted the Young man with a few questions and jokes here and there, all the while observing his defenses weakening. Then at the right moment he spoke in a soft ,yet  overpowering , fatherly  tone. “Tell me Boy… what’s the problem? Why are you not out with the others. I noticed you’ve been keeping to yourself since you got back”. The Young man suddenly dropped his sights to the carpet below to avoid eye contact. He wondered; should I tell him what I feel? Will he understand? Maybe he will or maybe he won’t. But why am I reluctant to tell? Haven’t I yearned to unburden my heart these past few days? Would it be fair to let the Old man leave without a valid answer? After a few more seconds of contemplating, he decided it was best to tell the Old man the truth.

“ I feel rejected” he said. “Like…. nobody likes me.  My folks, for some reason don’t want me around.  My siblings act like I am a stranger and what’s worse is that I am not missed. I feel like I am alone in this world. And that’s why I have been reclusive”.

“ Hmm……not exactly what I expected” , The Man-the-house mused.  “ You know what …..”, he paused, thinking of the best way to communicate his thoughts. “We all have a lot to be thankful for”.  He went on listing all the blessings that the Young man’s misery had concealed from him. After shifting the young man’s focus, he encouraged him, telling him he was always welcome to stay. With time the Youth’s face began to lighten up.

Then the Oldman said something that got the Youth thinking.  “You know, you the younger people rarely see the big picture; the world and all you have to offer it. That’s why you have way too much time to think about your problems. If you were thinking about how to be a blessing to people around you, you wouldn’t have the time worry about what you don’t have. You’d be thankful for what you have and the God-given opportunity to be of service to others. ”

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