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Cementing Little Trees

Years ago we called my dad to go with us and take a look at a house we were interested in buying.  We knew that he had built three houses and that he would know what to look for.  We liked the neighborhood and the outside look of the house.  We were thinking that the walls could be painted and new carpeting could be added.  Dad wasn’t concerned with any of that.  He was more interested in going down in the basement and looking around.  He was interested in the framework including poles, wood, cement and the furnace.  While we looked at the physical appearance he was concerned about the foundation.  When he gave his approval we knew that the house would last a long time!

Although dad got the credit for building three houses mom was a big help!  I remember her mixing cement in anticipation of him coming home from work.  When he got home he would start right in on working on the house.  The three houses that he built were in the same neighborhood.  The third house I helped with too!  I was 12 and one of the things I helped out with was the driveway.  Unlike the other houses dad had hired a cement company and they drove the truck over and dumped the cement.  We had four of us ready to spread it.  Dad had lined up some 2 by 4’s on the sides of the driveway and he had made us smoothing tools.  He had cut handles in the long boards and we used them to smooth the cement down.  As soon as the cement was dumped our work began.  Dad had hired my friend Lloyd and my cousin Lawrence.  Then there was myself and him and that was our crew.  The cement was very soft when it was dumped and we quickly smoothed it by putting a worker on each side and working the board together back and forth.  The goal was to make it the exact height of the side boards he had put down.  We worked the cement from up by the garage to down by the road.  Since we were right there when it was dumped it was easy to work it into place.

Cement and children have a lot in common!

Cement and children have a lot in common!

It’s been said that your house will probably be your biggest investment.  With that being said it is so important for that house to be solidly built from the ground up!  When the winds blow and the rain pours down it is essential that the house stands firm!  Dad knew what was important in examining a house.  Things that we see with the untrained eye are things that don’t make a difference in the sturdiness of the house.  We tend to look at colors and room sizes.  We gasp at how the old owners decorated and our plan to make it look so much better.  Luckily for us we had dad to give us his opinion on what was really important.

Although it is said that a house will likely be your biggest investment, I contend that it is not.  If you have kids they are your biggest investment.  Of course they are a financial investment but more importantly they are an investment in time!  Although percentages differ a majority of the things that we learn are learned before the age of six.    Those early years are so important and the most important thing a child can learn is that as parents we love them dearly!  That very fact goes a long ways in building the foundation that they will have for life!  They learn how much they are loved not by lavish gifts, but by quality time we spend with them.  They need to know that we as parents are on their side!  As parents it is vital that we set an example of how to live and that we encourage them to take the path to eternal life through Jesus Christ.

A study was conducted by a group called the “Bama Group”, which concluded that nearly half of all of the people who accept Christ do so before the age of thirteen.  Two out of three Christians accepted Christ before their eighteenth birthday.  It makes a lot of sense doesn’t it?  Young people are much more opened to changes.  They are sponges as far as absorbing information around them.

We worked hard with that cement because we knew that we were on the clock.  Sooner or later the cement would harden up where it could not be molded anymore.  When the cement hit the ground it was the most important thing at that moment to start spreading.  We didn’t let it sit there for an hour or two or when we felt like working with it.  The same thing is true when we are investing in our children.  Their little minds will get molded by the world if we don’t help them.  The lessons that we give in those formative years will be cemented in them for life!

Does that mean that everything will always be rosy?  Does it mean that they will always walk the line?  The answer to these questions is “of course not.”  They may walk out like the prodigal son did.  Sometimes little birds want to fly on their own and sometimes they get rebellious.  What I’m saying though is that if their foundation is solidly built they will end up knowing that you were right and that you love them.  Years ago my mom and I were talking about this very subject.  She was a terrific Christian example and she told me a story of “the little tree.”  The idea so much moved me that I wrote a poem called “The Little Tree.”  You won’t have to read too much between the lines to realize who the little tree is.  Like the cement and the little tree, time is of the essence!  We all as parents are responsible for the foundation of our kids.  Quality time is needed starting early and often to help mold the future for our greatest and most important investments!

The Little Tree
By Lewis Hamilton
From the book “The Gardener and My Garden”, c1997

A little tree was planted
It started very small
It could be bent or straightened
without any trouble at all

One day I was observing
the growth of the little tree
I noticed it was crooked
which was bothersome to me

I’d have to take some time,
there wasn’t any doubt,
to work on that little tree
and help it straighten out

But now I am so busy
Where do I draw the line?
I’ll deal with the tree later
when I find the time

One day I found a moment
to help that little tree
straighten out its problem
now that my time was free

But the little tree had sprouted up
much bigger than before
I tried to make it tall and straight
but couldn’t move it anymore.

Train a child in the way he
should go, and when he is
old he will not turn from it.

Proverbs 22:6

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One thought on “Cementing Little Trees

  1. This one really meant a lot to me Lewis, touching very close to home today for me. Thank you.

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