(I actually have been learning about this over the past 4 weeks as I prepared to teach a Sunday School lesson...but baring testimony of a truth can definitely solidify understanding)
While this is a well known parable among LDS saints, I believe there is always a knew pearl of wisdom to be learned.
I am not known for having an impressive vocabulary, so I tend to do my fair share of looking things up to try and improve and to keep myself in check. But in all my life, I never bothered to look up the definition of “Prodigal”. It seemed straightforward in context. Prodigal Son must mean something about the “Returning Son” or the “Restoration Son”, right? Wrong! When I learned the definition of the word, I immediately started polling my friends and it turns out the majority of us had made this same assumption. But we were all wrong. As defined on dictionary.com: Prodigal - wastefully or recklessly extravagant. The Prodigal Son was the Wasteful Son.
I had heard the following quote from President Hinckley many times:
"I ask you to read that story. Every parent ought to read it again and again. It is large enough to encompass every household, and enough larger than that to encompass all mankind, for are we not all prodigal sons and daughters who need to repent and partake of the forgiving mercy of our Heavenly Father and then follow His example?"
Previously I interpreted it to mean,"are we not all sons and daughters striving to return home"...but with correct translation I now understand it to mean, "are we not all wasteful sons and daughters". Fortunately, I was in a humble state of mind and instead of taking it as an accusation, it fell on me with relief. See, I am a wasteful daughter. I know this about myself. I waste time, and opportunity, and knowledge, and blessings, and resources. Although I strive to busy myself with the best things, I am often distracted by a boatload of good things. And I worry about it. I worried about it a lot last week. But as I really studied these verses, I was reminded by the spirit that the Lord wants even an ungrateful, wasteful daughter like me to Return to Him.