The Sap Keeps Running

By | December 14, 2023

[December 14, 2022]  Four fathers sat around the living room.  Each had brought their sons to an informal meeting of men of the church, to acquaint their young sons with ethical skills of manhood.  Perhaps this was not verbalized clearly, but the dads were nonetheless introducing their boys to the idea that men have a moral obligation to be strong and protectors of the weak, properly educated, and resilient to evil.  The sap keeps running.

These men of the church had gathered one Saturday afternoon with a mission to help their sons.  These were firstborn sons, and these fathers wanted to do something noble for the boys by challenging them in moral and physical tests.  It would not be easy, but they had discussed their methods earlier.

This same evening, they introduced their boys to a riddle.  They told the boys to imagine a large tree in the center of the living room.  They then instructed the boys to run around the “tree” until they figured out why they should stop running.  After several minutes, all but one of the boys had figured out the riddle.  That last boy was me.

Eventually, my dad told me to stop.  Perhaps I was a bit mentally dense.  I took things literally and didn’t understand the idea of symbolism in stories or how to solve logic problems.  I’m still prone to look directly at a problem and formulate a solution.  My dad asked me, “What is the blood of a tree called?”  Sap.  And, “What is a gullible person called?”  A sap.  He had to draw me a picture.  Only a sap keeps running.

I find that most Soldiers have traits of hard work and conscientiousness; because of these traits, they are also straight shooters (no pun).  For that reason, they can overlook some of the more obtuse solutions to issues that are required for success in life.

The lesson for me was not easy to accept.  I needed more “training” in the ethical ways of men and experience in solving riddles.  The sap keeps running.


Please read my books:

  1. “55 Rules for a Good Life,” on Amazon (link here).
  2. “Our Longest Year in Iraq,” on Amazon (link here).
Author: Douglas R. Satterfield

Hello. I provide one article every day. My writings are influenced by great thinkers such as Friedrich Nietzsche, Karl Jung, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Jean Piaget, Erich Neumann, and Jordan Peterson, whose insight and brilliance have gotten millions worldwide to think about improving ourselves. Thank you for reading my blog.

21 thoughts on “The Sap Keeps Running

  1. Plato

    I found this “the sap keeps running” a bit funny. But at the time, I’m sure Gen. S (as a little boy) was embarrassed. I got that. He sure came a long way.

  2. Eddie Gilliam

    The Sap is running. Great job my friend. Each child and adult learns on different levels which you brought out. That being said. The fast learners please be patient with the slow learner. We’re getting there it may take a few minutes.
    Jesus speaks alot in Parable. A Parable is a story that brings about truth. I allow you to think about what going on and draw a truth about the issue.

    1. Kenny Foster

      Eddie, you are correct. But Gen. Satterfield is saying that some kids just don’t get the symbology that makes up these parables. And he was one of them. It took a lot for him to advance to that level. Look back on his comments in the 3-part series on the Bronze Snake on a Staff. In the leadup to the last article, he is saying he was unable to “connect the dots.” He is saying something here for all of us.

  3. Patriot Wife

    Another powerful letter to his granddaughter. Girls need strong men in their lives when growing up. This makes us better. Just like Gen. Satterfield has written many times, get married, have children, and care for your family. For that is a noble cause.

  4. Scotty Bush

    Gen. Satterfield has some great points in this story. If possible, I’d like him to draw them out more in the near future. I want to thank Gen. S. personally for his dedication to helping us be better people. I would also highly recommend people get copies of his two books, and if you want, give them away. Please also leave an honest review on Amazon or wherever you buy these books. My favorite is his latest book, “55 rules for a good life.”

  5. Willie Strumburger

    Good to hear that there were young fathers who purposefully took the time to develop a plan to help their boys. I think this is an unlikely scenario today.

    1. Oakie from OK

      Yep, Willie rare or never occurs now. People would rather be looking at their phones. Kids today need more guidance than ever and they are NOT getting it, especially, they are NOT getting the proper guidance from school or their parents.

      1. Liz at Home

        Not so sure that is right but good fathers are going to do their best even in an environment that hates on men. Thanks to women’s lib, men are demeaned and that is okay, they say, wrong.

  6. Lady Hawk

    The sap keeps running. Never heard of it. But I can see what it can teach and how kids learn about riddles. They also learn to take criticism and that is a motivation to do better in the future. I would only say that adults need to be careful in the use of criticism. Make it positive and loving. 👀👀👀👀👀

  7. Nick Lighthouse

    Great article that dregs up some less pleasant experiences in my life. 😜

    1. Yusaf from Texas

      I know what you mean, Nick. All our experiences are different and Gen. Satterfield is spot on by giving us his experiences and connecting how these made him a better person. What we will see when he gets to his older years, is that he is still developing.

  8. Sadako Red

    “I find that most Soldiers have traits of hard work and conscientiousness; because of these traits, they are also straight shooters (no pun). For that reason, they can overlook some of the more obtuse solutions to issues that are required for success in life.” — Gen. Doug Satterfield. And thank you.

    1. Danny Burkholder

      Right, but it is much more than the education system but the bubble kids are so often captured within. They don’t get out enough to interact with kids of others areas because rural kids’ experiences for interaction with those their age will always be limited by the very fact of their parent’s occupations.

    2. Kenya

      “a bit slow” is perhaps not the exact right idea here. Kids need to be socialized by their parents by age 4. after age 4, they will be socialized by their peers. this is why, in America, black kids fail. there is no father at all and the mothers aren’t caring for their little kids so they are isolated from others that would help them. then there is a gap in socialization that only widens. then when hormones kick in, then it’s too late. The fail from that point forward.

      1. Melissa Jackson

        True enough but no one cares because black culture is always accusing others of racism. So if they want to insult everyone else, then no one is going to hlep.


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