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RITE OF PASSAGE: What goes up

I am not a rocket scientist, but I believe it was Sir Isaac Newton who coined the term “gravity.” He came up with something called the “Universal Law of Gravitation,” commonly known as the “Law of Gravity.” You know what it says: everything that goes up must come down. Like most laws, this one is almost always true. The “almost” occurs because not only did God create man and woman, but He also commanded us to multiply and fill the Earth. That has resulted in a confusing, terrifying and wonderful blessing we call children. Parents will easily understand that a child has an innate ability to suspend almost any natural law.

I never understood how my children managed to get things stuck on the ceiling. And I could never understand their propensity for trying to get things to stick to the ceiling in the first place.

Since I have two sons, I can only speak from the perspective of parenting . . . boys. Once I was lying on my son’s small bed talking to him when I looked up and saw a footprint on the ceiling of his room. “What is that on the ceiling?” I asked.

“A footprint,” my son replied.

How did a three-foot-tall child get a footprint on an eight-foot ceiling? I asked my son. All he told me was, “I don’t know.”

That turned out to be only one of many ceiling mysteries. “How did that pencil get stuck in the ceiling?”

“I don’t know.”

“How did the imprint of your baseball get on the ceiling?”

“I don’t know.”

“What is the gooey stuff on your ceiling?”

“A booger.”

“How did it get on your ceiling?”

“I don’t know.”

I heaved a silent sigh of relief. If my years as a husband and father have taught me anything, it’s that certain questions are best left unanswered. I’ve also learned that not everything that goes up comes down. “What is that red stuff on your ceiling?”

“Ketchup.”

“How did ketchup get on your bedroom ceiling?”

“It was an accident.”

“What do you mean, ‘It was an accident?'”

“I didn’t put it up there on purpose.”

“How, then, did you get it on the ceiling?”

“I jumped off the bed.”

“How did jumping off your bed cause ketchup to end up on your ceiling?”

“I landed on a packet of ketchup.”

“And, the ketchup shot eight feet straight up in the air and every drop of it stuck to the ceiling?”

“Yep.”

“You expect me to believe that?”

“I don’t know.”

One day, my oldest son, Jeremiah, came home from elementary school and announced he received a detention. He went to sharpen a pencil and encountered a temptation he couldn’t resist. He had to see if he could make the pencil stick in the classroom ceiling, so he let it fly. It was hanging from the ceiling tile, quivering, when the teacher walked in. Her eyes went straight to my son. His pride in his newfound ability exceeded the pain of the punishment he received. For the rest of the school year, other boys considered him a legend. In his mind, that exalted status was well worth a few extra hours spent writing sentences after school.

My wife and I came to realize that in our house the law of gravity doesn’t always apply. Still, we tried to teach our children that the Word of God . . . does. I hear about people who break the Ten Commandments. The last time I checked, the Ten Commandments were still intact. It’s the people who don’t obey them who end up broken. Our homes and society do, too.

As you teach your child the Ten Commandments (and every child should learn the Ten Commandments), pray they will become more than rules. He designed these commandments to flow from a relationship with a loving heavenly Father. When your children have a real relationship with God, His Word will stick like glue to the ceiling of their hearts. What goes up—and in—doesn’t have to come down. Even Isaac Newton would agree.

Walker Moore

Author: Walker Moore

View more articles by Walker Moore.

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