“Train up a child on the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6
My brother and I had been stuck in the house all afternoon due to a typical southern afternoon thunderstorm. We had not been on our best behavior and we were driving our mother crazy, so as soon as the skies cleared up she declared it was time for us all to go out on a family walk around the block. Dad noticed that the Jeffersons had a tree down in their yard, however as we got closer we realized it was more that just a downed tree. The leg of the Jeffersons’ beloved German Shepherd, Shadow, was pinned under the large pine. As dad began to try to free Shadow, my brother ran to get Mr. Jefferson. Soon they were gently putting her in the truck and rushing her to the vet’s office.
“Will she still be able to have her puppies?” I asked my mom.
She replied “I don’t know. I just do not know.”
See Shadow was due to have puppies just any day and we had been promised the first pick of the litter. We waited for what seemed like forever before we got a phone call from Mrs. Jefferson. She let us know that there was good news and bad news. The good news was that they had four new little fur balls to raise, but the bad news was Shadow was in surgery to have her hind leg amputated. Dr. Killen was unable to save both the leg and the puppies. He assured the Jeffersons that the momma dog would be able to teach herself to walk on her three legs. Sure enough in just few weeks after the accident, Shadow was using her front legs to walk and then hop on the one hind leg. She would get a little stronger and walk/hop a little farther each day. After eight weeks, Mrs. Jefferson called to ask if we were ready to pick out our puppy to take home. We made the short walk down to her house and she called the dogs out from the doghouse. Out came Momma with her unique stride and followed closely by her babies. The closer they got to us I notice that the little ones were walking with the walk/hop style just like Shadow.
“Why do they not walk on all four legs like they are suppose to?”
“Well, they walk the way their momma does.”
I was reminded of this story one night recently because in a little more than a month I will do one of the hardest things a parent has to do -- I have to take my daughter two and a half hours away, drop her off at college and drive away without her. As I think about this life transition, I wonder if I have I told her everything she will need to know. Have I told her all the dos and don’ts that will keep her safe? Have I told her enough that I love her? Have I told her how to iron without burning the dorm down? Have I told her this? Have I told her that? I was thinking of all the things I need to tell her when God reminded me that it is not about what I tell her but the way I have walked before her. The one thing I know I have shown her is that God loves us even when we walk on three legs instead of all four.