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The Baxter boys, Paul and John, liked to play in the woods near their home. They like the woods because they always found something they had never seen before. That's the way it was when they discoverd the tree with the knot tied in it. The knot was about halfway up the tree. How could a tree grow that way? The trunk was at least four inches in diameter; surely, no one could have tied a knot in a tree that big. When Dad came home from work, Paul and John showed him the tree.

"It's a knot all right. But it must have been tied a long, long time ago. It was probably tied when the tree was a sapling. Maybe some time back, other boys, just like you, may have played in these woods. When one of them felt the young sapling, he discovered it could be bent. Then, twisting it under and around itself, he got a knot tied in it." Mr. Baxter examined the tree again. Then he turned back to the boys. "Do you think you could untie that knot?"

"You kidding, dad? It's grown together that way now. No one could ever untie that knot."

"It's that way with young fellas like you, too." The boys' father answered. "There's an old adage that says, 'As a twig is bent, so the tree grows.' The way you start in life, the habits you develop when you're young, determine the kind of person you're likely to be when you grow up. Knots tied in kids' lives are just as hard to untie as the knot in this tree."

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