Warren Buffett is one of the richest people on the planet. People everywhere would pay big money to spend just a few minutes with him to glean even one of his investment secrets. But recently, Buffett offered a bit of advice he learned from his father that is better than any money-making tip.
In an exclusive interview with Yahoo! News and The Huffington Post, Buffett said that all parents can make a “better human being” by simply offering their children unconditional love,
The power of unconditional love. I mean, there is no power on earth like unconditional love. And I think that if you offered that to your child, I mean you’re 90 percent of the way home. There may be days when you don’t feel like it, it’s not uncritical love, that’s a different animal, but to know you can always come back, that is huge in life. That takes you a long, long way. And I would say that every parent out there that can extend that to their child at an early age, it’s going to make for a better human being.
The power of unconditional love is nothing new, but always worth another look. Jesus illustrated the Father’s unconditional love toward us when he told the story of the Prodigal Son in Luke 15. I’ve been re-reading Henri Nouwen’s thought-provoking book called The Return of the Prodigal Son as a way of reacquainting myself with the powerful parable.
Nouwen was a Catholic priest who served as the pastor of L’Arche Daybreak community in Toronto, Canada. His life was changed forever when he came upon Rembrandt’s painting called Return of the Prodigal Son. His eyes first caught a glimpse of it as a poster reproduction taped to the backside of a friend’s office door.
The famous painter’s powerful brushstrokes inspired Nouwen to travel all the way to the Hermitage in Saint Petersburg to view the actual work of art. He sat there day after day and for hours each day pondering the beautiful and artistic expression of Jesus’s most famous parable. It moved the deepest parts of his soul. Nouwen felt the father’s large hands and bony fingers dripping with unconditional love. He saw in the father’s embrace of his lost son the kind of acceptance that says, “Welcome home! You don’t have to explain.”
Every prodigal longs to hear such words, even if they are spoken only through an embrace. Nouwen writes, “I am the prodigal son every time I search for unconditional love where it cannot be found.”
As Warren Buffett says, “To know you can always come back, that is huge in life.” True riches, as Buffett learned, are found in a father’s unconditional love.