Ok. Stop me if you’ve heard this one before…
A certain man had two sons. The younger son asked for his inheritance and, upon receiving it, left home to go party. He went as far away as he could, spend all the money he had, and eventually fell on hard times. With his friends and his mind both gone, he takes a job feeding pigs who aren’t too keen on sharing their lunch with the hungry lad. Just as he hits rock bottom the thought occurs to him “Why don’t I just go home?” And he does. He goes home to find his father waiting, his older brother “hating”, and the community celebrating the lost son’s return.
Of course, you recognize the story by now. It’s the story of the “Prodigal Son”. You can easily identify this as a traditional rendering of the story. The facts (though paraphrased) are all there. The account flows just like it’s supposed to. You’ve heard this story, told in this way, before. Don’t look now, but that can become a problem. After all, you know what they say: “Familiarity breeds contempt”.
Besides, who wants to tell the same story in the same way over and over again? Even if your listeners are kind enough to give you their attention, you will eventually get tired of giving them the same old thing! Now by no means am I encouraging you to simply make stuff up. However, I do have a suggestion that should make your story a bit more interesting…
How about another point of view?
Suppose we took the same story of the Prodigal Son and told it from the perspective of the hurting father instead? Imagine the emotions that swell within him as his baby boy turns his back and walks away? Imagine the joy that overwhelms him as the answer to his nightly prayers comes stumbling up the driveway and into his waiting arms? What a story! Now that’s a perspective I’d love to hear!
Think about it. That’s only ONE lens through which we can view this story. What was the older brother thinking? What did the neighbors have to say? More than just character development (which we’ll get into at another time) seeing the entire story through another character’s “non-traditional” eyes can provide details the listener or reader may have missed and even answer (or raise) questions the audience has yet to think of. So why not give it a try?
Speak up! Tell your story from a different point of view.