Before we get going, I highly recommend the writings of F.W. Boreham. I consistently get lost in his storytelling. He is one of the more diverse writers I have come across. He seems to have mastered history, literature, Scripture and life. His thoughts are always deep yet they are grounded in reality in a way that makes the application crystal clear. His writings are practical yet awe-inspiring. He never fails to capture my attention and I always set his book down a better person and better prepared for life.
Recently I have been reading through Boreham’s Wisps of Wildfire and came across a story where Boreham was traveling on a tram-car when a dazed and confused canary was almost hit by the tram. It was clear that the canary had escaped from its cage and was struggling to fly. The driver noted that the poor canary would surely be dead by nightfall.
The struggling canary got Boreham thinking about different lessons to be learned from this. The lesson that I found the most interesting spoke toward how we should raise our children. Boreham wrote, “But with these dear homes of ours it is quite otherwise. These laughing little madcaps of ours will not long remain under the kindly and beneficent restraints of home. The time soon comes for them to go out into the rough and tumble of life. They will have to mix with all sorts and conditions of men – good, bad, and indifferent. They will come into touch with life on its sinister and seamy side; they will see things and hear things that their parents would gladly have given their livers to spare them. Yet no reasonable person would wish it otherwise. The finest strains of character are only evolved under such conditions. The sensible parent will shed no tears about it; he will sternly resolve that home, for his children, shall not only be a shelter but a training-ground. He will reflect on the pathos of the dead canary under the elm-tree, and will register a vow that none of the young people in his home shall, through any fault of his, become the victims of an even more desolating tragedy” (pg. 32).
As parents who seek to bring our children up “in the discipline and instruction of the Lord” (Eph. 6:4), and to teach them to see the world through a Christian worldview where Christ is seen as “preeminent in all things” (Col. 1:18). As Boreham shows, this takes a balance of sheltering our children from the world but also training them to be equipped for when they are suddenly on their own.
In closing, the following quote shows Boreham’s thoughts for his own life but his insight applies equally well for what we wish for our own children. He writes, “And, as I pursue this line of thought, the canary on the pillar-box suddenly assumes a still more serious tone. He reminds me that, one day, I shall find my cage door open and shall plume my wings for flight. One day I shall leave the window and fly out into the infinite. It would be the tragedy of tragedies if, when that day comes, my great adventure fills me with nothing but bewilderment and alarm. Within the narrow limits of my present life I must seek so to develop all my faculties and powers that, when the door opens, I may enter into my freedom with confidence and greet the unknown with a song” (pg. 33).
That is our desire, to graduate young men and women who will shine light on this dark world with confidence and a song.