Thursday, 26 March 2009
Following the Path to the top . . .
"A careful man I ought to be
A little boy follows me.
I dare not ever go astray
For fear he'll go the self same way.
I must remember as I go,
Through summer's heat and winter's snow
I'm building for the years to be
The little chap who follows me.
I cannot once escape his eyes,
What ere he sees me do he tries.
Like me he says he's going to be
This little chap who follows me."
Todd and I love to holiday up in Cumbria. Technically, the area we go to is not actually in Cumbria, but right at the edge . . . so we are in between the Yorkshire Dales and the Lake District. It is beautiful up there, wild and raw and untouched. Miles and miles of rolling hills, covered with cotton boll sheep, stone walls and little else . . .
We usually rent a self contained cottage when we go, and we always go to the same place. There is a comfort to be found in the familiarity of it all, and in some ways, I almost feel like we are going home, even though we actually live hundreds of miles away. This cottage lays at the top of a steep hill, with another hill that rises steeply at the back of the dwelling. A hillside covered with bleating and gamboling sheep. To an observant eye, one can see that the sheep have made paths for themselves by always following the same route on the steep and rocky slope.
Through years of time and testing, they have found the best way across the face of the slope, right on up to the top, and now these sheep follow the same route each time, the same pathway that has been beaten down and prepared for them by countless generations of sheep that have gone before.
It is a bit like that with children. If you can show them the best way to live now, while they are still learning, there is a good chance that they will stick to that for the rest of their lives. But this is nothing new . . . Proverbs 22:6 tells us
"Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it."
Pretty wise counsel there.