He was born in 1928 in Bluefield, West Virginia, and still retains some of that West Virginia accent. He was a brilliant student in school, especially in mathematics. He taught at MIT for a while and then Princeton (still does). But in the 50s, he developed a serious mental illness. He literally had gone mad. For example, he believed for a time that Russians were sending him coded messages on the front page of the New York Times. Eventually getting treatment, he began teaching and working again. In fact, in 1994 he won the Noble Prize for Economics.
I am so happy to see you this morning. How are you? (children may respond)
Let's play a game I call “Lost and Found.” Okay? (children respond)
(presenter role plays) Uh, oh, I lost something for today's message. Hmm, I wonder where it could be. It's a box like this. (shows approximate dimensions) (instruct the children to look around the immediate area) (then presenter or child finds it)
Since the Fourth Sunday in Lent has been historically identified as Laetare (Rejoicing Sunday), it is most appropriate that the lessons collectively testify to a theme for which we can rejoice — God saves us by his grace!
In this familiar and well-loved story of the Prodigal Son, I often wonder what happened to the mother of the family. She's totally ignored. So are any daughters. It seems like a completely male stronghold. So much so that I wonder whether perhaps the mother had died some years previously, and that was the cause of much of the unhappiness displayed by both the father and the sons. Or whether the father was such a domineering character that his wife played no real part in family life, but simply bowed her head in compliance with all his wishes, no matter how extreme they were.