Sunday, April 12, 2009

Isaac's apple

Tradition says that Isaac Newton figured out the law of gravity after an apple fell on his head. I figure that since he was probably sitting under an apple tree, perhaps he could also have figured out that the apple doesn't fall far from the tree.
That particular little proverb has a lot of examples to back it up. Here's a nice one.
I was watching an episode of ABC's Extreme Makeover: Home Edition last night (HGTV). This particular one was in their 'Heroes' series, about the Frisch family from Toledo, Ohio.
They were a family with 3 boys, who went on a mission trip to Haiti. They ended up adopting 5 brothers from a Haitian family, and then adopted 3 more young guys from inner-city Toledo. That's right--one family, 11 boys, 13 total. These parents obviously care, obviously want to make a difference.
Over the period of 60 minutes, they get a new house, university scholarships for the kids, and a plane load of toys, education supplies and more into Haiti.
It was great to see the response of the family, reinforced by the show's commentary. This family is now better set to continue to affect the community and beyond, touching more people's lives. What particularly hit me was the response by the Haitian born brothers. They are headed back to Haiti some day, to carry on the work/life/ministry passed along to them by their adopted parents. After their education is finished, they will be using it to make a difference.
Those apples aren't falling far from the tree.
Of course, a rotten tree can have rotten apples landing around it as well.
In fact, we probably notice the negative examples more quickly than the positive ones.
The kid who is in trouble with the law—whose Dad had followed the same path.
The young mother who seems to be spoiling her child, just like she was spoiled as a child.
But let's not dwell on the negative. Let's notice and encourage the good examples we see. We may not know the family history, but you can probably bet that the pleasant young barrista at your favorite caffeine joint comes from a home where friends, family and even strangers were welcomed, affirmed and well-spoken of. That the helpful department store employee probably learned how to go out of her way to help as a young child at home. That the industrious newspaper carrier was taught the value of earning a dollar by a parent who had regular chores as a teenager. That the friend who just fed you that wonderful dinner wasn't raised on Kraft Dinner or fast food. That the mechanic who just deduced where that strange noise was coming from, probably had a parent who let him tinker with the family lawn mower.
It may be somewhat genetic, but I think it is more a matter of nurture than nature.
And nurturing takes time and effort.
But it's pretty easy when the quality you are trying to cultivate in your child is already part of your own character. You don't need to dig so deep when it is already present in you.
So recognize what kind of tree you are, before you start complaining about the quality of apples lying around!
(With thanks to a Mom and Dad who lived lives of generosity, faithfulness, caring and community. I can certainly see a lot of them in me.)

1 comment:

Peter said...

I am scared to death of becoming a father. I have all this high idealism, conflicting with recognition of how impatient I am, how busy and selfish I am... people who sow such good fruit are inspiring, and moreso, humbling.


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