What about parents who chart their kids' growth on something moveable, like a piece of wood? Geniuses.
So, since we haven't been smart about it, our permanent measuring tape of choice has been our yearly (as in "so much for that trip to Hawaii" yearly) vacation in Mount Hermon.
Mount Hermon, California. Just a few miles in from Santa Cruz. "Where the trees meet the sea," they say. Ginormous, ancient redwood trees. A dozen people linking arms might still not be enough to circle around the older, pre-Jesus ones.
And nestled in the middle of it all is a magical family camp. We often call it Mount Hormone for those on the prowl. Its trees sometimes become kissing trees. I speak from experience. First kiss at age four (been going to camp a long time) and engaged there sixteen years later (different guy).
However, there's no need to ramble endlessly about my Mount Hermon growth record. I'll just stick to my kids. But I'm fairly certain no one wants to hear me compare their finger-painting-in-day-camp years with their current "I do what I want, go where I want, buy my own ice cream when I want" years. (Hear that? Doing stuff like buying ice cream, NOT kissing behind trees. Not my children. Do as I say, not as I do.)
So, without going into braggy-bloggy detail, let's just say my kids thrive in Mount Hermon like no other place. To put it poetically: The place nourishes their souls. To put it adolescently: "It's okay, I guess." But trust me, it's way more than just okay.
I'd even say the place has a redwood strength about it. A strength found not just in the trees, but in the people - counselors, friends, and family they've come to know. A lasting, generation-to-generation strength that can only come from God - their creator and defender, their redeemer and friend.
Who wouldn't thrive when surrounded by people like that? Spiritual redwoods, that's what they are. My kids tend to stand tallest up against folks like that. And year after year of measuring their growth in Mount Hermon, it sure beats doorway moulding.
"He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its fruit in season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers." Psalm 1:3