One hobby---or method of maintaining my sanity---is trail running. Instead of running endless miles on pavement, I much prefer hitting the hills or desert in rain, sun, or snow in testing my mental and physical endurance. In one particular race, the goal was to complete a marathon distance in the desert along some very scenic spots. The rain was coming down pretty steadily at the start of the race, but this dissipated after a few miles in the to course. However, once I reached mile 13, the runners just ahead of me seem somewhat disorientated, and although were distinctive orange arrows on the ground that seemed to point in one direction, it just didn't seem like the right way basic on the basic map we were carrying with us and the lack of footprints. Normally, a race such as this is well marked with colored flags, signs, or even volunteers to point you in the right direction. However, after getting lost and runners going in all directions, the race was called off in light of the danger of runners getting further lost in the desert.
In many ways, this reflects the challenges which confront us and our children. Too often in life, there are signals or mixed messages that can mislead us and take us off the prescribed course. Fortunately, parents, good friends, and other mentors can keep us on the right path.