Plant a Shade Tree for Five Generations
Dennis Swanberg is a comedian. He makes people laugh, but sometimes he does it in a reflective way.
He tells the story of how his grandfather loved to hear young Dennis do Ed Sullivan and Jimmy Stewart impersonations. And in his thick accent, he’d ask Dennis to tell another “yoke.” But it was the faith of his grandfather and his own father that stood out. Even as the ravages of time took his father’s memory, he could still recall his favorite verse: “…in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths…”
Dennis shared how his father and grandfather were tall shade trees in his life. Shade trees give respite to those weary with life and needing a way to go on. And in his whimsical wisdom, Dennis Swanberg encouraged his audience to plant shade trees for future generations.
In truth, I think that mindset of preparing for future generations is the great marker of the generations gone by. They were willing to strike out as pioneers, go to unmarked lands, plow virgin ground, build fences, and fight wars to build a life for generations yet to come. They were shade-tree planters.
I wonder how much of that we’ve lost. It makes me sad. Yet at the same time, I’m hopeful that we can regain an entire generation of people who recognize that they stand, sit and rest in the shade provided by others and will seek to keep it going for future generations still to come.