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Just as Mountain Climbers Need a Sherpa, So Children Need a Father

Mount Everest, the earth's highest mountain, has two standard routes used by most climbers. Both routes present a number of dangers, including frigid temperatures and monsoon-category high winds. In addition, climbers have a limited number of months in the year to make their attempt, along with very tight time periods during the day to safely ascend and descend the mountain. But the most dangerous obstacle, and the one that has caused most of the climber deaths, is altitude sickness. In its most severe case, it causes fluid on the lungs and swelling on the brain that will leave a person so disoriented that they can't think clearly. If this happens to you while on Mount Everest, it means almost certain death.

Therefore, it's not surprising that even the most experienced climbers don't try to tackle Mount Everest alone. They hire special guides called "Sherpas." The Sherpas are a unique people who, for generations, have inhabited the Khumbu Valley, the national park surrounding Everest. Because they have been living in the area for so long, they have developed a genetic ability to function at very high altitudes. Whereas most people start to have oxygen problems above eight thousand feet, they have an amazing endurance up to about twenty-three thousand feet. Since the Sherpa guides have trekked Everest many times, they are experts when it comes to knowing the weather patterns and the best time to climb.

But these gifted Sherpa guides can do something else: with their uniquely trained and experienced eyes, they can help those in their care pause and take in the beauty of Mount Everest. You see, this mountain is not all danger. It's a delight as well, with many breathtaking peaks, vistas, and valleys that one can only see from its heights. That's why so many are drawn to it and would risk life and limb to plant their personal flag on its summit. And it's not surprising that the official Tibetan name for Mount Everest is Chomolungma, which means "Holy Mother."

Possible Preaching Angles: Father's Day; Fathers; Mentors; Imitation; Parenting—Parenting (or discipling others) has much in common with climbing Mount Everest; children need their fathers, like inexperienced climbers need the Sherpas, to guide them and to help them avoid the perils and unwise decisions of life. But they also need their fathers to help them appreciate the wonders that await them on the upward journey to fulfill God's purpose for their lives.

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