Not too far from my home, here in the state of Georgia, is a beautiful canyon named Providence Canyon. The canyon is made up of several gorges that intersect, the deepest being about 150 feet. The canyon walls offer incredible views of soil layers colored in various reds, white, browns even black. The canyon is often called, by the locals, the Grand Canyon of Georgia.

DSC00389Having grown up in Arizona, I have to admit, I was a little disappointed when I first saw Providence Canyon because I expected something more vast. That being said, Providence Canyon offers a view that is hard to get in many parts of our great country.

What makes this such an awesome place is the history. Providence canyon is not the result of millions of years of erosion caused by a mighty river, it is not even the result of thousands of years of wind and rain erosion. Providence Canyon is just short of 200 years old.

Historical accounts indicate that the canyon began forming in the early 1800s as the result of poor soil-management practices. Most of the native forest had been cleared to allow for farming. Early-nineteenth-century farmers in this region took no measures to avoid soil erosion their attention being on farming the land. Small gullies formed and rapidly grew deeper by 1850 ditches three to five feet deep had been cut into the land, further concentrating runoff and increasing the rate of erosion. By the early 1900s, chasms had given way to gorges and homes and even the Providence Methodist church fell victim to the rampant erosion.DSC00390

By contrast, in 1947, Cason Jewell Callaway purchased a 13,000 acre cotton farm that had been farmed to the extent that it had been stripped of it’s nutrients. Through selective agriculture and environmental management practices the Callaway family turned what could have been an environmental disaster into one of the most beautiful places in the United States, Callaway Gardens.

The contrast of these two stories is interesting enough in itself. But as a father, they point to a lesson for all of us.

Every family, at some time, is subject to circumstances that leave us vacant and stripped of all apparent value. Our actions and those of others often begin to cause small rivulets in the fundamental fabric of what is our family. If left unchecked, these small rivulets become gauges that eventually become irrevocable gorges.

It is our responsibility as fathers to correct the damage caused by societal pressures and put down and feed the roots of strong family values. Teaching and modeling stong Christian ethics and honesty will nourish a healthy and growing family.

It is not providence when a child or a whole family fails. Providence is just the opposite. The American Heritage Dictionary defines providence as:

prov·i·dence (prv-dns, -dns) NOUN: 1. Care or preparation in advance; foresight. 2. Prudent management; economy. 3.The care, guardianship, and control exercised by a deity; divine direction: “Some sought the key to history in the working of divine providence” (William Ebenstein). 4. Providence God. (The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. Copyright © 2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company.)

Like Cason Jewell Callaway, it is our providence to invest in what some would see as failure and turn it into something beautiful.

As fathers it is our calling, by a loving God, to use care, guardianship, and control to provide divine direction.

With His help we can not fail.

En Servicio Como Padre



1 Response to “Providence”

  1. 1 wayfarerjon July 10, 2009 at 2:11 AM

    A really well written post on such an important topic. Thank you.


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