The Arrow

So, I did a thing last week.

I accepted an offer to fill the role of Teacher Assistant in our local public school district. I am super excited!  I have known the principal who hired me for several years and we have forged a really cool friendship, though he is at least 25 years younger.  His faculty is one of the best in our district, and we have walked through some really amazing victories together, as well as a few very heavy valleys which have affected the lives of our students, their families, and our entire community.

I have considered this move for quite a while, and especially since I began the process of completing my studies for a Bachelor’s degree … at the age of 55!

At this age, most people have determined their likes and dislikes, preferences, and behaviors.  And, no one really likes to change.  Well, almost no one.  I am one of those very interesting (and sometimes frustrating) adult ADHD specimens who is always looking, and seeking, and pursuing, and discovering, and inquiring.  I have ‘words’, as my sweet quiet introvert wife Sheryl will attest.  Lord that woman has patience with me!

This week, during a personal development seminar, a very good friend and mentor showed me the famous FedEx logo and asked me if I saw ‘the arrow’ in the logo. At first, I did not.  So I looked again. And again. And again. Then suddenly, voila!  I could ‘see’ it!  Can you?

Sometimes, we don’t see things clearly.  For whatever reasons, sometimes life throws so many curves and unexpected challenges our way, that we simply cannot see the forest for the trees.  There are times when we need the help of others to see things differently.  I know that for me, I need the help of God, the help of His Spirit — daily — in order to see things differently than I have seen things before.

So when I finally did ‘see’ the arrow, it immediately conjured in my mind many references to the word arrow.

From my church upbringing, I have heard many times the scripture passage, “As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth.” – Psalm 127:4 states:  An arrow in the quiver is a strategy or option that could be used to achieve your objective.

A quick search of Bible scriptures results in more than 50 references to the word — arrow(s).

Arrows are implements of archery.  With nearly every reference in scripture, in language arts, in poetry, the word arrow almost always signifies the delivery of a message, or a warning, or a route towards an objective or goal.

Children are like arrows. Children are a heritage of the Lord, scripture promises.  Children become youth.  In their youth, or adolescent years, they begin to experience mental, emotional, and physical change. They are on a journey. They are moving towards early adulthood. They are beginning to ‘see’ things in a different way than before.

As parents and as educators of adolescent youth, it becomes crystal clear to most of us, that we have an enormous responsibility to nurture, and to guide, and to prepare our children for an ever changing and ever daunting world, which is filled with wonder, with adventure, with danger, and with opportunity.

To borrow from the imagery of archery, we must work diligently and daily, to prepare these young arrows with every possible resource.  For very soon, they will be chosen by our brave and victorious warrior King, the Lord Himself; and He will set them in his bow, aim them strategically towards the target He has set forth for them to attain, and empower us to release them out into their own brave new adventures.  And for what universal cause?  For what eternal reason?  For what earthly purpose?

To change their world. To make their parents gleam with gladness. To affirm their educators with deep fulfillment. To inspire their peers.

Or, as my sweet introvert wife always says to her own natural born babies, as well as to her classroom babies, “… now, I want you to go and make a difference …”