It is said "A father is neither an anchor to hold us back nor a sail to take us there, but a guiding light whose love shows us the way."

So what does a tree full of duct tape have have to do with father showing us the way?

I'm so very glad you asked, and so very happy to tell you.

This past Father's Day weekend, former Orono teacher Kara Pawson brought her family "upta camp" in Sinclair, Maine, to visit her parents, Jeffrey and Ruth Peterson.

At some point during the visit, as all of the kid cousins were playing, her 10-year-old son, Ben, came "tearing into camp, absolutely beside himself."

Pawson describes the situation:

"What my mother finally managed to get out of him was that he had chopped down a dead tree by the beach and that it had split open and nine baby chickadees had come spilling out of it."

The broken limb, photo by Ruth Peterson

"Upon further inspection, they found that one of the nine didn’t make it and after a sweet burial for the poor sweet chick, Ben and the cousins said a quick prayer for the safely of the chicks through the cold night coming."

The babies, photo by Ruth Peterson

Pawson goes on to say that the family called the Wardens, who explained that the only way the chicks would survive would be if they were returned to the nest...the nest that was in the tree...the tree which was no longer standing.

Broken nest, photo by Ruth Peterson

Jeff Peterson, whom the kids call Grampie, knew what needed to happen, and went right to work on finding a solution. Pawson explains:

"While the kids gathered up the chicks in a makeshift nest and took them into the camp to keep warm, my father set to righting the tree as best he could.

Recusing the babies,photo by Ruth Peterson

"It was too big and too heavy to put back completely how it was, but he chopped, and puzzled, and figured, and pieced together the hollowed out bit where the nest had been, as best as he could."

Kids helping with the fix, photo by Ruth Peterson

Grampie "put the broken pieces back on top, added branches to the sides for support, wrapped it many times over with the Yankee’s secret weapon....duct tape, and hoped for the best."

Ben and his Grampie , photo by Ruth Peterson

"Settling on the best fit he could manage, my dad carefully placed the chicks back in the nest."

Bringing the babies home, photo by Ruth Peterson

Grampie Peterson was not only saving the lives of these little birds, by going above and beyond-armed with his trusty duct tape; he was teaching them several life lessons.

Lesson One:  Life is precious and always worth the extra effort.

Checkin' on the babies, photo by Ruth Peterson

Lesson Two: It doesn't have to look pretty, as long as you put in the effort, and give it your all. If you try, you're more likely to solve any problem, than if you simply give up and walk away.

Duct Tape Tree, photo by Ruth Peterson

Lesson Three: Many hands make light work, and good works make one's heart feel happy.

Kids inspecting Grampie's work, photo by Ruth Peterson

When asked what the kids thought of what their Grampie had done, Pawson said "  they all said [they were] 'happy' because they knew it meant the baby birds would live."

Pawson went back later, to check to see if all their efforts had been successful.

"Yesterday I trekked north and saw the handiwork with my own eyes....and it made me smile. I watched mommy and poppy chickadee fly in and out of this makeshift nest many times and I knew all was well."

You never know who's watching, or maybe sometimes you do. Big speeches, intricate charts and massive occasions aren't necessarily what's needed to teach kids the important things in life.

Sometimes all you need is time, patience, a willingness to try...and of course, some good old fashioned duct tape.

Thanks, Grampie Peterson, for being a "guiding light who's love shows us the way."

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