An official observed the Confucian practice of making offerings to the ancestors. However, when making the offerings, he forgot to include his own son in the ceremony.
When Confucius heard of it, he commented, “This man will lose his official position within two years.”
The official indeed lost his job a year later. Confucius’ disciples asked their teacher how he could see it coming.
Confucius explained, “To make offerings to the ancestors is to express gratitude to them. Yet he neglected his own son during this ceremony. That clearly indicates that a lot of important things can slip his mind. Therefore, he can’t help but eventually lose his official position.”
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A smart man must make sure to take care of his base or else he will become undependable.