Training a Stream…and Children

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this before, but we have no structured science curriculum for the lower grades.  We take science as it happens in life.  This weekend we had some great science happenings.  We went to the beach Friday evening, and the little hidden beach that we like best has a stream running down to the lake through it.  One of our traditional beachgoing endeavors (just for fun) is to try to re-route the stream.  Usually it gets away from us, and goes back to flowing pretty much where it was before, but this time we really worked hard and spent some serious time engineering the diversion.  There was no one else there to observe, so we were free to work without feeling silly, knowing that other people wonder why in the world we would do such a seemingly pointless thing.     

We finally got the original meandering channel dammed up and managed to get enough of a trench dug in the sand to divert the water to a new course.  We babysat the stream for about an hour after we finally got it flowing, rebuilding dikes, dredging out shallow places that kept filling up with sand, reinforcing our dam so that the current didn’t sneak back to its old course, and making sure there was enough vertical fall to keep the flow moving.  Sometimes things would begin to crumble on all fronts at once and we had to work fast and hard.  But finally, we could see that it was flowing faster and getting deeper.  When we finally left, we were pleased that the pond behind the dam was going down and the water level in our new stream was finally lower than the surounding sand.

Sunday afternoon we went back, wondering if the stream would be right back where it had been before we started, or whether our rerouting had actually worked this time.  It was SO fun to see that it had happily continued in the course we had set.  The little streamlet we had left had become a rushing stream, widened out immensely and eroded down over a foot deep into the sand!  It had certainly gained momentum since we had left it!  There was no trace of the big pond that had collected behind our dam, though the scar of the original creek meandering off to one side was still there, bone dry.  We had a good talk about erosion, how quickly it happens when there is a lot of water.  We watched how the banks occasionally caved in, to be swept away downstream to the sea, and making the canyon deeper and wider.  Obviously, this happens much faster in sand, so it was almost like seeing the genesis of a river in ultra-fast motion.

We were amazed at how much larger and deeper it was, at how fast it was running once the pond full of standing water had been eliminated.  But we also know from many past experiences that it doesn’t always happen.  Usually we end up leaving soon after we make the new course, and eventually the water breaks through a low spot and runs right back to the original course.

I was thinking about that today, and how much it is like training a child.  Proverbs says “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”  I have read that the word train actually means “to narrow.”  That makes sense to me, since the pond, which just spilled over wherever it happened to fall, had to be directed into a narrow channel.  And as the water poured through that channel, it deepened and widened to accomodate the increasing water flow.  A few days later, after that channel had become established, it would have been very hard to persuade that water to go anywhere else! 

Another neat thing was that when we got there, someone had moved the log we had used as a dam for the original stream.  But it didn’t even matter.  By that time, our new waterway had deepened to the point that it no longer had any tendency to go down the old course.  Naturally, if a steam has been allowed to wander on its own, the evidence of its original course will still show for a time, but if no water runs through it, will eventually be worn away.

Granted, when you are training children, sometimes it feels like the banks are caving in all around, and you can’t possibly keep up with all the places that the water is leaking out.  Sometimes you despair of ever getting this little stream to stick to its new course, BUT there is an end to that.  Thank God.  This was an inspiration to me to see that eventually, it will become easier to stay on course, IF we don’t falter in the training.

Isn’t it amazing how God can use the natural things to give us a peek at the spiritual? 



About dayuntoday

I'm a wonderer. I spend a lot of time mulling, pondering, and cogitating. This is just a place to park some of those thoughts.
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11 Responses to Training a Stream…and Children

  1. Anonymous says:

    That is a pretty neat analogy!  Keep up the good work!  :yes:

  2. ShineOn1983 says:

    Wow. That is an amazing analogy (sp?)! That seems so true. Sticking to it is the key, whether it be child training, marriage, or just life.

  3. sparrow59 says:

    I think it’s neat, yes.  It also explains a little bit why Jesus used “parables” to get the message across in so many of his sermons. 

  4. fwren says:

    . . . and it makes me so thankful that He never falters in His training of me!  Maybe, eventually, I will run straight and true to Him, instead of allowing old tendencies to pull at me now and then ~ onward and upward!

  5. fwren says:

    You might like to read today’s post on this site.  Not exactly the same subject ~ but related a bit ~

  6. Aw, great job on the analogy and the science lesson! The log moving was even better. When our barriers and protections for our children are gone, may they be strong enough in the Lord to continue in the same, good path!

  7. cerwindoris says:

    ryc:  I have no clue what they represented.    They were chains.  I figured they just like chains.  🙂

  8. cerwindoris says:

    I just found the answer to your question.  They are called Zoot Chains and go with Zoot Suits – a kind of 40’s fashion statement.

  9. DanishDoll says:

    Thanks for your comments. I know I have thought a lot about the Oh my ___! thing myself. I say Oh, my word or oh my goodness, and so far, I haven’t felt the Holy spirit get on my case about it. It is the taking of the Lord’s holy name in vain which is pretty clearly wrong. There is also this verse in James. I like it from the Message.
    Jas 5:12 And since you know that he cares, let your language show it. Don’t add words like “I swear to God” to your own words. Don’t show your impatience by concocting oaths to hurry up God. Just say yes or no. Just say what is true. That way, your language can’t be used against you.
    The thing is, God knows our hearts. He knows if our motive is to blaspheme or not. As long as we are sensitive to His will, and keeping our hearts right, I don’t think we have to get legalistic and condemming. I hope I didn’t sound that way in my post. I was just trying to point out some things I have seen and to gently show where we might be off the path.
    Again, thanks for coming by and for your great comment.

  10. DanishDoll says:

    Me again! I just read your post, and enjoyed it very much. I like your comparison to changing a watercourse and training a child. I know when my kids were in their teens, I felt like I was going over Niagara Falls in a canoe, but we just prayed and paddled like crazy, and eventually we came out into calmer waters! :laugh:

  11. mamaglop says:

    What a great lesson you took from that experience.  A good analogy!

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