george hancock stefanWhen I was growing up, I memorized poems about Arabs and gypsies praising their horses. The attachment between horses and Arabs can be seen in the film Ben Hur, when the owner of white horses calls them his daughters. Some people focus on actual daughters and I learned another poem in which the poet claimed one could look at the brightness of the sun, but not at the brightness of his daughters.

During the days that I spent in Belgrade, it seemed like the Serbian nation focused on praising the beauty of their daughters. Their newspapers and books frequently describe the capital city, specifically the success and the beauty of Belgrade girls. Serbian novelist Momo Kapur writes that “…the women in its streets are more attractive than those seen on the catwalks of the world’s metropolises. More specifically, Belgrade’s daughters are the most beautiful – they are prettier than those of previous generations.”

Likewise, the Slovenians are proud of their daughter Melania who is in the White House. It is a regional pride, but there is also a pan-Slavic pride. In fact, the President of Slovenia offered the capital city of Ljubljana as a propitious place for a joint meeting between President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin. When they celebrate Melania’s role as the wife of a president, the Slovenians can recognize their patriotism and the beauty of both their country and its people.

Parents and nations are proud of their progeny. When parents get together, sooner or later we start talking about the accomplishments of our children. If they are not doing so well, we offer prayers to God, that He will enable them to escape them vicissitudes of life so that they can achieve whatever is success to our minds – in academics, economics, politics, their marriage, or their spiritual life.

Nations talks about their successes too. They boast about their sons and daughters who stay in the country, as well as those who go abroad to find international success. Serbians talk about their diplomats who are seeking to create a quicker entry for their country into the European Union (in spite of Brexit). Romanians talk about the success of their diplomats and senators who are already highly regarded for their European achievements.

Sometimes it sounds funny when enthusiasm for success infects people who do not belong to that particular ethnic group. They can sound even more enthusiastic and passionate than the citizens, when they discuss the possibilities that exist for these smaller nations to achieve spectacular successes in the future.

Apostle Paul in a totally different context tells us that if there is something praiseworthy, we should dwell on those things. Thus, I want to rejoice with the parents and the nations that feel good about themselves and seek to reach new heights in their accomplishments.