Intended for healthcare professionals

Editor's Choice

Sharing and caring for better health

BMJ 2017; 358 doi: (Published 07 September 2017) Cite this as: BMJ 2017;358:j4157

It is a wise father that knows his own child (Merchant of Venice)

Share and share alike. These wise words mean that good fortune should be shared with others. But bad fortune should also be shared. As an elderly man, my father taught me a poignant lesson in sharing bad fortune. As a physician with chronic health problems, I told my father that I was so determined to improve healthcare, that I was willing to walk on hot coals. My father stunned me by replying that he would like to walk on the hot coals before me, just to cool them off. By trumping my metaphor and sharing my burden, my father's self-sacrificial sympathy became his eloquent legacy of loyalty and love. Wise, loving fathers are a gift from God. 

Competing interests: No competing interests

10 September 2017
Hugh Mann