Isaac’s Climbing Tree

After we moved in 30 years ago, seven-year-old Isaac could often be found high in the branches of this elm tree in the middle of our side yard.

This morning–after 60 mph winds swept through overnight–Rita and I woke up to “Isaac’s Climbing Tree” no longer climbable. The trampoline crushed. The zipline draped across the lawn. But the saucer swing intact!

I think of this tree every time I do my favorite talk for dads (which I delivered last weekend in Albany, New York!)

One of the themes I explore with the audience is how Moms and Dads are different. Dads need to know that!

I’ll describe a situation in which a Dad learns that there’s a lunar eclipse at 2:00am on a school night. Of course, most Moms don’t think Dad should wake up their second grader. But every Dad in the audience knows in their gut that it really is okay if that little guy or gal falls asleep in school the next day. When the teacher hears the reason for the sleepy second grader, she will appreciate that Dad even more. Classmates will be jealous. And that youngster will remember that late night with Dad seeing the eclipse forever.

You see, Moms nurture and keep kids safe. Dads challenge and give kids a vision for the future. Both are equally important!

When it comes to tree climbing, Moms will say, “You’re too high.”  Dads will say, “I think you can reach that next branch.” Looking up through the leaves, those are the exact words Rita and I said to Isaac so many years ago.

I love trees. And I’m sad this beloved leafy friend is gone.

Plus, now I have to spend the next few days with a chain saw cutting her up and dragging her to the curb. We’ll save some for firewood. If you’re in the neighborhood, I could use your help.

Finally, I’m reminded of a favorite Proverb that suggests you and I might be tree huggers:

Wisdom is a tree of life to those who embrace her;
happy are those who hold her tightly.  (Proverbs 3:18)

Friends, hold tightly to wisdom. Hold tightly to your kids. And never be afraid to say “I think you can reach the next branch.” 

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