Saturday, March 23, 2024


It is possible that safety is an overrated concern for some parents, and a constant obstacle of interference for adolescent boys.  It has produced a never ending battle between mothers and sons.  Mothers diligently strive to keep their young boys safe from the foolish decisions that promise unavoidable injury, further brain damage, or even death.  Boys, on the other hand, cunningly scheme to overcome the safety precautions that have been unfairly placed upon them.  For example, a potentially hypothetical situation may find a mother whose 8 year old son has been using a ladder to climb onto the roof of their home.  He does this to gain the high ground in attempt to shoot unsuspecting squirrels, gophers, and crows from the peak of the second story gable end. 

“Ryan! What in the world are you doing up there!?!”

“I am shooting at squirrels and gophers and birds and stuff!”

“Where did you get the gun?”

“Dad gave it to me!”

“Get down from there now! It’s not safe!”



“Drat…I missed.”



Now you would think that the problem would be solved when the mother insisted to have the ladder put away and locked up to prevent the possibility of a repeat offense.  However, it could happen, that as the mother was hanging the bed sheets out on the clothes line she once again heard, “Bang. Bang.” followed by “Drat…I missed.”

“Ryan! What are you doing up there?!…HOW did you get up there?!”

“I crawled through the window and shimmied up the eave.”

As much as they try, mothers only have so much power to keep their curious sons safe.

I remember one spring day when I was climbing a tree. 

My mother had reprimanded me on several occasions for climbing trees.  Each time, I would be cautioned about my lack of safety for either climbing too high or not holding onto anything with my hands.  It seemed obvious to me that tree climbing would be safer with a ladder.  This truth must have been overlooked by my mother or she may not have taken it away from me.    

I took my mother’s concerns to heart and thus made several adjustments to safeguard my own safety for this expedition.  First, I selected a tree that my mother did not yet know about.  I did this to ensure that she could not come back to me and say, “I thought I told you not to climb that tree.” 

If she attempted to make such a statement, I could simply reply…“Not this one…that was a different tree.”  As you can see, I was a pretty thoughtful and obedient child.

Second, I built my “own” ladder with some old wood that I had found in the barn. 

Third, I tied a big heavy rope around my chest and allowed it to hang loosely behind me as I ascended.

Once my safety precautions were in place, I set to work.  I climbed the old elm easily, bouncing and swinging through its natural sturdy beams.  The large, heavy limbs generated a vast array of hand and footholds protruding in every direction.  As I reached a deep Y, half way up the towering deciduous, I lowered myself into a yawn between the limbs and tied off the loose end of the rope…and then…I slipped.  I tried to snatch a limb on my way down, but the abrasive bark only served to bruise, cut and batter my entire body on the way down.  Three feet before my face met the base of the elm, the rope tied around my chest slipped to my waist and snapped tight holding me fast. 

The good news was that my face was spared the maiming impact of the earth below.  The bad news was that the Old Timer jack knife that my grandfather had given me slipped from my pocket and fell to the ground.

Looking back on my childhood, I have come to realize that strength is only as good as the cord that is holding you.  Self confidence and pride can easily build as we gain abilities and talents.  Naturally, this brings into our lives a sense of self assurance and boldness.  It is often at these times when the pride comes before the fall…sometimes proverbially…sometimes literally. 

Matthew 5:5 states, “Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth.”  Meekness is not something that is championed in our culture.  Yet, that is what Jesus exemplified.  One of the most astounding moments of both His meekness and majesty are reflected in his entry into Jerusalem on that first Palm Sunday.  Why can Jesus be so meek?  I think that, perhaps, it may be because He knows how secure He is in the strong cord that holds Him tight to the Father.

May we come to see that meekness is relying on the strength of the Lord and not on ourselves.

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