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The Wings to Fly

Giving our children roots and wings isn't easy. Here's a daily devotional to help inspire us not to give up.

By Rick Hamlin


A wise son maketh a glad father. . . . —PROVERBS 10:1

A friend of mine claims that it's the job of a parent to give a child both roots and wings. Well, when Timothy went off to college and Carol and I no longer had any boys at home, I was worried that maybe we'd overdone it in the wings department.

I mean, for the first week Tim didn't even call, and after that we'd get only nuggets: He loved his classes, he had great friends, he was playing Frisbee on the lawn and working hard. But in my empty-nest stage, I kept wondering: Didn't he miss us even a little? Didn't he miss our fall rituals, like shopping for apples at the green market, going to a Columbia football game, carving a jack-o'-lantern, planting the spring bulbs? Every November we'd put in tulip bulbs and daffodils and crocuses. Now I'd have to do it on my own.

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“I'm glad Tim's happy,” I'd say in my prayers, “but fall feels empty without him.”

Then one day I came home from work and Carol said, “There's a package for you on the dining room table.” A sizable cardboard box from some unknown address, it smelled faintly of damp earth. I opened it. On top were an order form and a card. “Happy Father's Day a little late,” it said. “Love, Tim.” There in the box were bulbs—spring bulbs to plant in the autumn.

“What a great present, Tim,” I told him on the phone. “I'm glad you didn't forget.”

“Sure, Dad,” he said. Wings and roots: It takes both.

May my children remember where they're from as they spread their wings and fly.