Shape The Future--Teach A Child

As parents, we often feel we have enough on our plate just trying to raise our own children. But the truth is, we must also look out for the welfare of other children if we want to create a bright future for all. Every child has the potential to impact the world and we all leave a legacy in the children we touch.

I didn't write the story below, and I don't know who did, but it grabbed me, especially since the mystery person at the end of the story is one of my heroes. See if you can guess the boy's name.

Mr. Fleming was a poor Scottish farmer. One day, while trying to make a living for his family, he heard a cry for help coming from a nearby bog. He dropped his tools and ran to the bog. There, mired to his waist in black muck, was a terrified boy, screaming and struggling to free himself. Farmer Fleming saved the lad from what could have been a slow and terrifying death.

The next day, a fancy carriage pulled up to the Scotsman's sparse surroundings. An elegantly dressed nobleman stepped out and introduced himself as the father of the boy Farmer Fleming had saved.

'I want to repay you,' said the nobleman. 'You saved my son's life.'

'No, I can't accept payment for what I did,' the Scottish farmer replied waving off the offer. At that moment, the farmer's own son came to the door of the family hovel.

'Is that your son?' the nobleman asked.

'Yes,' the farmer replied proudly.

'I'll make you a deal. Let me provide him with the level of education my own son will enjoy. If the lad is anything like his father, he'll no doubt grow to be a man we both will be proud of.' And that he did.

Farmer Fleming's son attended the very best schools, and in time, graduated from St. Mary's Hospital Medical School in London, and went on to become known throughout the world as the noted Sir Alexander Fleming, the discoverer of Penicillin.

Years afterward, the same nobleman's son who was saved from the bog was stricken with pneumonia. What saved his life this time? Penicillin.

The name of the nobleman? Lord Randolph Churchill. His son's name? Sir Winston Churchill.

I love this story not only because I have a little Scottish in me, and Sir Winston Churchill is one of the giants of the 20th Century, but also because penicillin was key in my own family's history. When my mom was in her early twenties she was injured when a large iron ladder fell on her leg. She was getting my older brother, a daredevil two-year-old, off the ladder when it fell. A scrape turned into gangrene, and she almost lost her leg and her life.

This was during World War II, and the new drug, penicillin, was reserved for military use. But somehow, my mom's doctor obtained a small amount of the drug before it was released for use in the general population. She was the first person in Lubbock County, Texas to receive it. It saved her life, most likely. Fast forward ten years and I arrive on the scene. So I, as well as Sir Winston, owe that Scottish farmer a debt of gratitude. He cared for another family's son, and he affected many generations to come.

Is there a child in your sphere of influence whom you can bless? When your church calls for workers in the children's area, don't turn a deaf ear. Consider how you might help raise the next generation and share God's love, along with the wisdom you've come to possess. You will touch the future by teaching the next generation.