Becoming a Man

A little boy walked up to his father one day, and saw that his father was cutting down a tree. “Why,” asked the dew-faced youngster, “are you cutting down that tree?”

His father looked at him with a surly grin and said lovingly, “This is a thing a child cannot understand; but you will know the answer when you become a man.”

The angelic child, saddened that he could not yet understand his father’s motivation, but feeling light in heart at the knowledge that he someday would, walked away.

Years passed, and the boy saw his father cutting down many things–trees, bushes, people with high opinions of themselves, and paper lanterns–and every time, he asked his father why. His father, eyes sparkling like grape juice, always answered the same way: “This is a thing a child cannot understand; but you will know the answer when you become a man.” The boy, still a boy but wiser now, smiled himself, and said, “OK.” As he walked away, a tear came into the father’s eye. He had heard a slight crackle in his son’s voice, a sound that meant the long-awaited moment of knowledge was close enough to touch.

Finally, the day came when the boy was a man. His father was standing out by the barn when the boy approached him. As he drew near, the father turned. In his hand was a hatchet.

“Here is a thing,” said the father, “that a boy cannot understand.”

The boy waited in anticipation, trembling with the excitement of anticipated knowledge.

“A man has a job, a job no one else can do. He must cut things down. Things like fear, anger, hatred, fury, sadness, depression, greed, avarice, indiscretion, intemperance, and terror. These are things a man must cut down and destroy. But there is another side to this, a side perhaps more important. A man must plant something good to replace the bad thing he has destroyed.”

The boy’s eyes filled with tears as he realized that he was the new tree. He fell into the old tree’s arms, and then they went out, to replace evil, wherever they found it, with good.

If you love your father and America, repost this story. Share it with your friends and neighbors. Let the world know: we need more men with hatchets, and less men with hatred.

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