“Autumn leaves don’t fall, they fly. They take their time and wander on this, their only chance to soar.” Della Owens wrote this in her book, Where the Crawdads Sing. This quote made me think of our youth. And how easy, in today’s world, it is to fall.
“Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you
And though they are with you, yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow
Which you cannot visit, even in your dreams…..”
These words were written by Kahlil Gibran as part of his iconic work The Prophet. I have always found them profound words of advice when dealing with youth. As are “Train up a child in the way he should go; and even when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Good ol’ Proverbs.
Just recently, I have worked with two sets of youthful volunteers. The first at our family reunion. Raven, Morgan, Josie, and Trevor assisted me with supplying those gathered with hot spiral-cut fried potatoes. They sliced, cooked and salted for over an hour.
The two eldest, now a maturing fourteen years of age, had helped at our last reunion—three years past. After dinner they would lead the family in the Pledge of Allegiance. Then demonstrate how to correctly fold our United States flag.
The next group was at the Baker Creek Seed Festival the following day. Ezekiel, Lydia, Aspen, Briele and others. All young; might even call most of them kids. They placed numbers for the Cake Walk; played “soon-to-be-healed cripples” for the Dr. Crookshank medicine show. Carried supplies and props back to my car at day’s end. All with smiles.
I would love to take credit for at least part of their raising. Unfortunately, I cannot. At best, I have recognized and rewarded positive behaviors. Perhaps told a few stories with a good moral or two imbedded within. Shared a bit of praise; occasionally combined with smidgins of caution. Maybe even treated some to a free book or healthy treat.
The world in which our young are growing is far more dangerous that the one in which we grew. Television alone offers up more sinful behaviors than the backstreet bars and bordellos only a few decades back. A government that prides itself on embracing diversity at the cost of moral principles and people who hide behind the “we all sin” excuse so as to willfully disobey the teachings of our Lord and the principles of our Founding Fathers.
It is very easy for us to fall. Especially those of less maturity and experience. If one chooses to turn from His grace; they might fall for eternity. When enough fall; so falls a nation. If they, however, “walk in the truth” they will fly. In this world and the next.
Gibran, in that same passage, went on to write “You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.” A teacher I had years ago believed “an arrow bent in its making would never fly true in flight.”
Daily we have the opportunity to interact with our youth. If nothing less, as examples. Even further, to reinforce and bolster good actions and not embitter our children with hypocrisy and undue criticism. To help them fly; not let them fall. Thanks for joining us!