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A Kick and Another One

The ability to bounce back when life?s billows roll, to spring up when knocked down or to recapture a dream after a drawback can not be taught in college or any other formal learning institution. However, nature teaches us to stand up after being knocked down in a unique way.

The beginning of life for a baby giraffe in the jungle is an arduous experience. Infested with carnivores and sometimes scarcity of food and water, a baby giraffe is introduced into the world with kicks from his mother. In a world where it does not matter whether you are a carnivore or a carnivore?s food, when the sun is up, all must run to survive.

For a baby giraffe to survive and thrive in the jungle, it has to be able to stand and move with the herd. Carnivores enjoy capturing easy prey. Mother giraffe knows how crucial it is for her baby to be able to move to safety, no matter how hard the learning process.

With a mother standing over eight feet above the ground, a baby giraffe falls down from the womb, albeit sometimes on its back. Then, this tender calf rolls over to keep its legs under its body. In this setting, a baby shakes off birthing vestiges from his ears and eyes.

The mother, who knows the turbulence of life, introduces her baby to the course, Survival Skills 101. She looks at her baby and then stands over it. After a while, she gives her baby a kick with her long leg, thus forcing it to stand up. If, for any reason, the baby fails to stand, Mother giraffe
repeats the process, says Gary Richmond in his book, A View From the Zoo, until the baby stands up.

Amazingly, the mother then kicks the baby off its feet, so that the baby can recall how to stand up.

This scenario reminds me of my how my Dad raised us. He knew life is a jungle and that we had to have survival tools. Dad had a great desire for us to have an education. He knew that it would be difficult for someone of my generation to have a decent life without an education. He never tired of giving us kicks. We had to study every night, even if it meant using a flame for a lamp. When we were not among the best three students in a class, Dad needed an explanation. Dad spanked me when I was in sixth grade for being in the sixth position in a class of 125 pupils. It was common for Dad to have us be in the same grade for two years until we learned to "stand up."

My Mom, on the other side, gets credit for giving "spiritual kicks." She never let me explain why I could miss service. When there was finally a church building in our community, Mama made sure I joined the choir that was mainly for girls. This gave me the honor of being the first male to sing in the choir.

Survival in the jungle or modern life requires the same rules. Parents can give the needed "kicks" when important life lessons such as work ethics, respect, reliability and honesty can be learned. As parents, spiritual guidance, encouragement that builds self confidence, and admonition that builds character are "kicks" we can give children in order to assure their survival in "social jungles." The word of God for the young is a ?kick? that guides children forever.

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