Craning their leathery necks, delighting in the sweet warmth of the last days of summer.
A safe distance from the shore; they dare not come any closer.
Soon. The children would be heading back to school and they could swim easier--
The lady who worked at the park told her, told my Mom--
"Those boys, those boys; you know what they do--they catch the turtles, and they smash them with their baseball bats."
The turtles, harmless, innocent turtles, broken to oblivion and crushed senseless.
Senselessly crushed . . .
Because destruction, causing pain in some unexplainable way gives a horrible pleasure to the sinful heart--
Young boys--another evidence that humans are not "good" at the root of it all . . .
And I brought my daughter to the park the other day--brought her to the park to see "Tom Turkey," as she calls him, and Tom's "wife" and the other farm animals in the simple little petting zoo there.
We walked up to the pen--and she was excited.
But another girl, about 8 years old stood there too. And she started banging on the pen, banging hard, trying to make the turkey upset.
And my immediate thought was, "Let's walk away; I don't want my daughter to see this--"
But then, I thought--maybe there's another way--and I spoke kindly to my daughter-and so that the little girl could hear--"What a sweet, gentle turkey . . . look at him in there . . . " and so on--
And the little girl, who probably was never taught not to bang on cages, or that turkeys can be gentle, sweet creatures, slowly stopped banging on the cage. She looked at me and listened with wide eyes.
And she saw the turkey in a new way.
Later on, we walked into the carousel and watched the children riding the colorful horses.
The little girl was there. She saw me and waved happily at us as she went around.
Children can be taught gentleness. And sometimes the Lord gives us the opportunity to "redeem" a situation.
The best time to teach a child is when they are young, before the habits are set hard and fast and they are more difficult to break.
Because if they're smashing turtles now, what will they be smashing later?
So I try to teach my children gentleness, by the grace of God, and I try to set my example.
So that they may not cause pain . . . ("Lord, let my children not cause pain . . .")
And be sons and daughters of grace.