Our youngest son, J.D. has always been a climber. The doctor did ease him out of Cyndy’s womb - he climbed out. He was reaching the cabinets when he found out shelves made handy steps - almost before he could walk with any confidence. There were times when it appeared that he did not even need toeholds to climb a wall. It was not long before he could be found sitting on top of the refrigerator eating whatever he brought with him. It was usually something he was not supposed to be eating even though it was food of some sort.
When J.D. was big enough to climb trees he began to worry me. Cyndy would tell him to come down and go into the house - she could not watch. All three boys would be practicing casting with the fishing rods or playing with something else that would get caught in the tree. When something was caught in the tree, J.D. had an excuse for climbing the tree. Not that he needed one.
He would climb on the smallest limbs. Some that would begin to vibrate under his weight if not downright shake. I would be getting more nervous and anxious by the second while trying to convince him to come down.
“But, Dad, I’ve almost got it he would say.” His perceived goal more important than listening to his father’s worried advice.
When we moved into our new home in January, we had more trees and a shed in the backyard. The tree limbs over the shed were too small to allow access from the trees, but climbing up the fence and then onto the shed was a “piece of cake” for J.D. I would worry all the more when all three of them were on top of the shed. The chances increased of someone falling off - even by accident.
However, at the same time I was anxiously telling them to get down, I was somewhat jealous of the innocent fun they were having While I was telling them not to jump off, I was remembering that jumping off would have been the first thing I would have done at their age. But I had been practicing my art of tuck and roll landing. Which was a concept that has not occurred to my sons. I pictured a serious thud as boy hit immovable object, followed by a trip to the hospital.
I have always had a good sense of my own limits. If I was doing something I was not supposed to be doing, I stopped before my personal offense was more serious than I could explain away and be forgiven for doing. As I grew older I realized I had been smart enough to feel God’s “hand” on my shoulder (more than likely the result of the effect my parents’ words and my Christian upbringing on my conscience.
If you pay attention, to your inner self and your conscience, the Lord will help to lead you toward the right decisions. I long for the day that our teenagers will steer away from following their testosterone and emotionally charged urges towards the spiritually filled conscience and maturity to which Cyndy and I have tried to guide them. Until then I’ll just have to be nervous and anxious until they climb down from the roof of the shed or limbs of the tree. Thanking the Lord when they do so safely yet again.