Climbing the Ladder

Climbing the Ladder

Ten-year-old Alan was sitting on the floor looking at the paper. His mother was sitting in her favorite chair, mending. All at once she realized that Alan was unusually quiet. She turned around and said to him, "Alan, what are you reading that seems ;, to be so interesting?"

"Mother, I am looking at a queer picture which I found in this paper," said Alan.

"Let me see it," said mother. So Alan and his mother studied the picture. In the picture was a high mountain and at its foot nestled an odd looking little house. "I never saw a house like that," said Alan.

"No, I don't think you have, Alan; that is a log cabin."

"Who lived in this log cabin, mother?"

"Well, Abraham Lincoln lived in that one."

"You mean the Lincoln that was President of the United States?"

"Yes, of course, the Lincoln of whom you have learned in school. He was very poor as a boy. His parents could not afford a better house. That log cabin had no floor in it, nothing but just the bare ground."

Alan was quiet for a while as he again studied the picture. At the top of the mountain he saw a large white house. "Mother, who lived in the big white house on the top of the mountain?"

"Lincoln lived in that house, too," answered the mother, who saw that Alan was greatly confused that a poor boy like Lincoln moved from a log cabin to such a beautiful house. "He lived in that big house when he was President of the United States. It was a long climb from the log cabin to the big White House."

"You mean, mother, that he climbed from the log cabin to the big house on a ladder?"

"Why, of course not, Alan. What makes you say that he climbed on a ladder?"

"Because the picture has a ladder in it. See, there it is. The ladder is resting against the mountain. The bottom of the ladder is touching the log cabin and the top of it reaches to the big house on top of the mountain."

"I know, Alan, that the picture shows a ladder, but that is not the way Lincoln got from the log cabin to the White House. The log cabin is in Illinois and the White House is in Washington, D. C. No ladder could reach that far. To climb a ladder is hard work. You can slide down a ladder but not up a ladder. To get to the top of the ladder you must climb, and to climb is hard work. The ladder in the picture means that Lincoln went from the log cabin to the White House as President of the United States by hard work. When a small boy he did not even go to school. His mother taught him to read and write, and at nights he read by the light of the burning logs in the fireplace. They had no lights like those we have. When a young man he became a good lawyer. He was honest, loved God, was a good friend to all, and worked hard. Finally, he became President of the United States. That was the time he moved into the big White House. That is what the ladder in the picture means."

Alan listened with deep interest to what his mother had to say. Then he said, "Can boys today do what Lincoln did?"

"Look at the bottom of the picture, Alan. What do you read there?"

Alan studied the words for a minute, and then read aloud, "The ladder is still there."

"That means," said the mother, "that you and every boy and girl can become somebody worthwhile. But remember that the ladder is for climbing, and that is hard work."

Alan was about to leave the room, when his mother said, "I forgot to tell you that a person who climbs looks up. When we have our faces up, God can look into them. To look up means to look to God. When we want to climb and be somebody worth while it is a good thing to look up to God for help. That is what Lincoln did. He looked up to God for help, he read his Bible, and prayed often. Remember, Alan, that the ladder is still there. By it you can climb high to something worthwhile, and by it you can climb up to God and into heaven."

"What shall I do with the picture?" asked Alan.

"Why don't you pin it on the wall right over your bed?" suggested the mother.

"That's a good place for it," answered Alan as he left the room. He often looked at the picture and remembered what his mother told him.

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