I know a man who captains a towboat on the Mississippi and other large rivers in the United States. These boats have enormous engines designed to push very large loads on the river—loads as heavy as 1800 tractor-trailer rigs. On occasion, they push as many as 40 barges at a time up and down the river.
The barges are carefully lashed together with huge steel cables, tightened to the point where all the barges move together as a single unit, up to 1100 feet in length. The towboat pushes this gargantuan floating object with extraordinary precision, which requires years of training for the captain. The slightest miscalculation can result in grounding the barges on the river bottom, or in the destruction of docks and other structures on the river.
The skill required to push 144,000,000 pounds around a bend in the river is inspiring, but no more so than the skill required to bind together a family and move it as a unit toward love and happiness. Captains are trained for many years and carefully supervised, and yet parents are not supervised and rarely have any training at all.
When we take seriously the responsibility we have as parents to love and teach our children, we will make a difference that will ripple for generations to come, an effect far greater in scope and length than the power of a towboat captain.
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