by Happy Dragon
This is a persuasive essay based of of the book "The Mark of the Beaver".
The Strength of a Family
The strength of a family, like the strength of an army, is its loyalty to each other.
It was as if a couple of dogs were playing tug of war with Matt's heart, ripping and rending it until there was nothing remaining but rubbish.
Attean and Saknis the Indians were asking him to leave with them. They were traveling far away, never to come back. The people who saved Matt's life, and who Matt grew so close to, were giving him an ultimatum: either wait for Matt's family, who might never return, or leave with the Indians and ignore the possibility of Matt's overdue father coming and finding his ready-to-move-into cabin deserted.
Matt and his father built this cabin with their own hands. The older man left his 12-year-old son at the cabin while he went to gather up the rest of the family and return. Matt had been alright, that is until a silver-tongued stranger stole his father's gun. Then he conceived the bright idea of climbing a tree with a bee hive in it to get some honey. However, Saknis, his grandson Attean, and the rest of the Beaver Tribe had saved Matt from drowning in a river while trying to escape from a swarm of bees. They nursed him back to health and promised to frequently fetch him food as he recovered on one condition: Matt was supposed to teach Attean to read.
Eventually, the two boys became friends, practically brothers. Even though the decision tore Matt's heart in two, he chose to let his friends leave forever and stay to wait for his family. He made the right decision for three reasons: he needed his family emotionally. It was morally the right thing to do and to leave would be spiritually destructive.
Matt had a strong emotional need for his family. He loved and adored them: Father, with his quiet, strong ways, Mother, with her comforting and equally strong personality, and even Sarah, with her energetic, though somewhat pesky behavior. He missed them terribly. Plus, by now he should have a new brother or sister to love. His mother was pregnant when he and his father had left her.
Families should have our highest loyalty besides God. He gave families to every man and woman to teach them, encourage them, and love them. Although some families, like all good things, are corrupted, they are still one of the most import things on Earth. In addition, Matt's family needed him. Not only did they love and want him, but he had the skills and the strength to help his family survive and thrive when they arrived. The importance God places on family is shown in 1 Timothy 5:8, "Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever."
Another thing to add is that to leave with the Indians would be destructive to his walk with God. Sure, Matt owed a lot to them, and they were very nice people, but they were as pagan as a witch doctor waving a wand. They would be a bad influence on Matt. It would have been fine, even good, for them to be friends or neighbors. However, even if Matt was thinking of becoming a missionary to his friends, he was not a mature enough Christian to live with them. He would have constant pressure towards their way of life and no other influence. He would be submitting himself to their way of life.
Some argue that Matt should've left because the Indians taught him and gave him things. Attean had taught him how to make his snares and fishing hooks, and had given him his own dog. However, Matt knew all he needed to know in order to survive until help arrived, and could make his own supplies. Besides, it is wrong to place a person's value on their generosity towards you. Others may also argue he should've left because he loved Attean, who spent hour upon hour with Matt. They taught each other, fished with each other, and hunted with each other. However, as was mentioned earlier, one's first human loyalty is to his family. So, although he learned and received things from the Indians and loved Attean, Matt should not have left; his life did not depend on it, and he had other loyalties first.
In closing, Matt should have stayed to wait for his family because he loved them. It was the ethical choice, and to follow the Indians would have been a danger to his walk with God. Too often we take the importance of family for granted. Today's society makes brothers and sisters seem like they are a curse instead of a blessing. It makes parents seem like they are taskmasters rather than loving guardians. God's will is that all people have a family, therefore it is not something we should easily give up. In fact, we should do all we can to keep that essential blessing.