A colleague shared an old poem about a weary traveler with me as an encouragement to “stay the course” on supporting youth development at Trail Life. I thought I’d share it here as an encouragement to other adult leaders and volunteers as to why we do what we do.
The Bridge Builder
By Will Allen Dromgoole (1860–1934)
An old man going a lone highway, Came, at the evening cold and gray, To a chasm vast and deep and wide. Through which was flowing a sullen tide The old man crossed in the twilight dim, The sullen stream had no fear for him; But he turned when safe on the other side And built a bridge to span the tide. “Old man,” said a fellow pilgrim near, “You are wasting your strength with building here; Your journey will end with the ending day, You never again will pass this way; You’ve crossed the chasm, deep and wide, Why build this bridge at evening tide?” The builder lifted his old gray head; “Good friend, in the path I have come,” he said, “There followed after me to-day A youth whose feet must pass this way. This chasm that has been as naught to me To that fair-haired youth may a pitfall be; He, too, must cross in the twilight dim; Good friend, I am building this bridge for him!”
Thank you Dad (and Mom, too!), for building a bridge for me all those years ago, even when I didn’t realize (fully) how much work (and at what cost) you were investing in my future. I hope I will build as many valuable bridges for my sons, too.