A mother knows how to speak of God as she would of an absent father with all the evidences of his care and love about her and his children. She knows how to make a child's heart beat high in joy and thankfulness as she thrills him with the thought, 'my Father made them all,' while his eye delights in flowery meadow, great tree, flowing river. "His are the mountains and the valleys his and the resplendent rivers, whose eyes they fill with tears of holy joy," and this is not beyond children. We recollect how 'Arthur Pendennis'1 walked in the evening light with his mother and recited great passages from Milton and the eyes of the two were filled 'with tears of holy joy,' when the boy was eight. The teacher of a class has not the same tender opportunities but if he take pains to get a just measure of children's minds it is surprising how much may be done.
It started as an ordinary day. While mother prepares breakfast, three young brothers run out of the door for some fresh air and outdoor time before they begin their lessons. The oldest one runs down the sidewalk toward the main road following his usual course until he notices a recently injured turtle tumbling to the side of the road. Upon closer examination, he sees the turtle has quite a large crack in its shell. As he returns home with the wounded turtle in tow, brothers soon gather around him to assess the situation. It is not an ordinary day after all. It is turtle-saving day! They had learned that turtles like berries and worms. Of course, food is needed to save a turtle; so, they quickly dug up a couple of worms and lined them up in a row with some berries right in front of the turtle’s mouth to make it easy for him, since he wasn’t moving much. The turtle in his turtle way gave thanks and ate and reassured the boys their efforts were worthy. Shortly after breakfast, mother and her boys brought the turtle to the nearby wilderness station, where he will stay until he’s ready to be released. Did the children learn their sums that day? Yes. And, maybe more importantly, they learned that they are ready and able stewards of God’s world and its creatures. They also learned that the turtle is a she, and a red-eared slider, and that a turtle’s shell is a skeleton like our bones. They will remember this day...a fond memory shared by all. Mother has instilled in her children the thought that ‘our Father made them all.’ We believe it was a Divine appointment. We must be on the lookout for these.
P.S. Word from the wilderness station is that the turtle will have a full recovery.
1 Arthur Pendennis is the main character in the story The History of Pendennis: His Fortunes and Misfortunes, His Friends and His Greatest Enemy by William Makepeace Thackeray