Sometimes with the youth we reach out to we’ll have them build a wall. We even give them the materials: sugar cubes for one team; Lincoln Logs for the other.
Then comes the rain (watering can), and the wind (hairdryer turned on high).
Can you guess which collapses vs. the one that withstands the storm?
What we build with matters. What we give youth – by way of our example, our industry, what we pursue daily – that they might copy and use in the construction of their lives, matters.
Much has been made about “How Trump plans to build, and pay for, a wall along U.S.-Mexico border.”
“The boldest promise of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign was also one of his first,” wrote Miriam Valverde in Politifact.
“I would build a great wall, and nobody builds walls better than me, believe me, and I’ll build them very inexpensively,” Trump said, announcing his candidacy on June 16, 2015. “I will build a great, great wall on our southern border. And I will have Mexico pay for that wall.”
Comparatively speaking, as to importance, it’s the wrong wall and in the wrong place.
There is hardly a more ravaged, ruinous, wrecked portrayal of a former ancient fortification than one where the walls are broken down. Without such protection, when the walls have been breached, the enemy can come and go at will. All within suffer – families, moms and dads, youth, children, toddlers and babies, homes and belongings.
When there is no wall.
But the wall we need to build consists not of brick and mortar. But rather of character and self-control.
“Virtue’s true storehouse is wise self-control,” a Chinese maxim says. “Who can govern himself is fit to govern the world.”
If “reputation is the shadow, and character is the tree,” as Abraham Lincoln is quoted in Suzanne Fields’ October 19, 2016 piece for “The Washington Times” then conscience makes up the roots.
Unseen, the roots of our conscience which should give rise tree-like to everything else, providing strength, and shade, and support as a branch would a swing; or, to mix metaphors, a wall – constitutional safeguards for example that repel government inspectors – protecting, defending, and dissuading the encroachment of unwanted invaders; roots left uncultivated, unnourished, and unattended can give rise to a culture, and a city, not of our choosing.