When it comes to children, I don’t have favourites. In fact, I’m not really into favourites. I don’t have a favourite colour, perfume, place in the world, or favourite food. At least, I can boast of having a favourite person in the world and that is my husband.
I have a few reasons why I don’t support the favourite child idea. These reasons are based on two historical records about two families. The first is the family of Isaac and Rebekah and the second is the family of Jacob, the younger son of Isaac and Rebekah. He was Rebekah’s favourite while Esau, the firstborn, was Isaac’s favourite. It’s interesting to see that this favourite concept runs from generation to generation in some families.
I’ve found that there is usually a reason why a certain child becomes the mother’s or father’s favourite. It could be because he’s more intelligent or talented, or she’s studying to become a doctor like her father, or he has a healthy dose of the unique entrepreneurial traits that run in the family. In Esau’s case, he was a hunter and his father had a taste for wild game. So by default, Isaac loved the son who helped satisfy his appetite for what we call “bush meat” in Nigeria. In Joseph’s case, it was because he was born to his father in his old age. Sometimes these reasons are based on what the parent stands to gain.
Isaac and Rebekah played this ‘pick your favourite’ game to the point that each of them referred to their favourite as ‘My son’, as though they were not interested in the well being of the other child or of being associated with them in any way. When Isaac grew old, he asked Esau to hunt game and prepare him a tasty meal so he could eat it and bless him. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with blessing your first born but there’s no record that he planned to bless Jacob later on.
Poor Esau went hunting with his father’s blessing in mind while Rebekah who overheard their entire conversation worked with Jacob to execute her short cut and extremely deceptive strategy which would enable him get the blessing instead of Esau. Their plan worked and Esau’s weeping and pleading for any left over blessing yielded nothing. His father had released all the good stuff on Jacob and because of this, Esau planned to kill Jacob. It’s amazing that in the name of favouritism, Rebekah deceived her husband in this way, even though she knew it could break his heart and probably snuff the life he had left out of him.
So here’s my question – what do you really want to see in your family? Peace, love, joy and harmony? Or discord and hatred that runs from generation to generation and turns family members who should support, cover, help, and defend one another into enemies that tear one another down? Something else to think about is this – are you neglecting your other children or betraying your spouse just because you are trying to give your favourite child an edge? Think about it. Is it really worth it?
To be continued next week – Favourites 2 – The Coat of Many Colours