No. 721


One day several years ago, I was down in the small community of Robertsdale, Ala., visiting one of my radio sponsors. This community is only a few miles from the Gulf Coast and the timing of my visit was a few weeks after a major hurricane had come through this part of the country.
I will never forget looking out across the landscape and seeing a giant stand of trees all bent over, looking very much like a bulldozer had placed its giant blade against each one and pushed it until it was leaning in the opposite direction of the hurricane force winds. This was a spectacular sight and made me realize what tremendous power a hurricane can generate and how they can completely destroy anything in their path. As you read this column, if you have lived through a hurricane, you know all too well what I am talking about. I’m thinking here about my Gulf Coast readers in Abbeville, La., and Port Arthur, Texas.
As I thought about this I was reminded of the saying that most of us have heard, “As the twig is bent, so grows the tree.” The key word in this saying that I would like to amplify, is the word “Twig” because a twig, in many cases, is a small plant that grows into a giant tree. This process could be compared to a small baby who weighs only a few pounds when he is born, but over a period of years becomes a grown man, who is 6 foot, 6 inches tall and weighs almost 300 pounds. Needless to say, we would want all of our babies to grow up tall and straight and not all bent over like my example of trees being bent over by hurricane force winds. I might add this does not apply just to the physical growth but also the spiritual, mental and emotional growth as well.
Here in our part of the country, and perhaps yours as well, we have something called Vacation Bible Schools. Usually, these take place during the summer months when regular schools are out, and churches have a brief program, usually three to four days, to bring children together and teach them about God and his love for them. With assistance from the church staff, these schools are coordinated, managed and taught by volunteers, church members who give up some of their personal time to teach young children Biblical principles and concepts that will give them solid footing for success later in life.
In our local paper there is a Church Corner section that runs every Saturday. Area churches have a correspondent who writes and submits articles to keep readers informed of activities that are happening in their respective churches. One of my favorites is written by Mrs. Hazel Love who writes for the Bethlehem Baptist Church in the Shady Grove community. Sometime ago they had their annual Vacation Bible School, and I would like to quote something that Hazel said that hits the nail on the head. She said, “They say it takes a village to raise a kid, but it takes a church family to teach a child about God.”
The church is the only institution in our society that is charged with the solemn responsibility of setting the spiritual tone and climate for our nation. When you look at the moral and ethical decay that is taking place in America today, it’s obvious that we have dropped the ball. However, there are still millions of good and Godly people around and I would hazard to say that most of them attended a wonderful and productive Vacation Bible School. Lastly, I want to pay tribute to the millions of Vacation Bible School workers who have sacrificed time, effort and resources to make sure that children in their church and community learn about God and how much He loves them. It’s true, as the twig is bent, so grows the tree.
(EDITOR'S NOTE: Jim Davidson is a public speaker and syndicated columnist. You may contact him at 2 Bentley Drive, Conway, AR 72034. To begin a bookcase literacy project visit You won’t go wrong helping a needy child.)