Saturday, June 18, 2005

Raising A Tree

I was trying to find a suitable fatherhood poem to convey my thoughts; something that express the old adage "It takes a village to raise a Man". I read hundreds of poems last night searching for just the right one. I looked under "Family" and "Man" and "Father" and "Husband". Finally, under "Growing" I found my answer.

What Do We Plant?
by Henry Abbey

What do we plant when we plant the tree?
We plant the ship which will cross the sea.
We plant the mast to carry the sails.
We plant the planks to withstand the gales-
The keel, the keelson, the beam, the knee;
We plant the ship when we plant the tree.

What do we plant when we plant the tree?
We plant the houses for you and me.
We plant the rafters, the shingles, the floors,
We plant the studding, the lath, the doors,
The beams and siding, all parts that be;
We plant the house when we plant the tree.

What do we plant when we plant the tree?
A thousand things that we daily see;
We plant the spire that out-towers the crag,
We plant the staff for our country's flag,
We plant the shade, from the hot sun tree;
We plant all these when we plant the tree.

When I read this poem, I knew my quest had ended. My children are trees, planted in this world by their father and me. Will they grow up to be the mast, strong and sturdy, holding the sails of life taut as the wind blows? Will they become the support beams, holding up a home of their own some day? Will they become the flagpole from which our banner waves, proudly proclaiming their heritage and dedication to freedom around the world?

We do not yet know what they will grow up to be, but one thing is certain. They will not grow up to be Men without the influence of many men in their lives. Their father will show them how to raise their children. Their grandfathers will show them how to enjoy life. Their pastors will be shining examples of God's love. As their parents, we will introduce many men who will help shape them into the kind of man we hope they will be: a kind, compassionate, loving, protective, patriotic, appreciative, strong man who will someday plant trees of his own.

Thanks guys, and Happy Father's Day


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