“They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.” Jeremiah 17:8 (NIV)
My husband plants a garden every year. This year we’ve been blessed with rain…a lot of rain. Soon we noticed many of our plants didn’t grow. We aren’t sure if the rain washed the seeds away or something has been eating them underground, but they never grew.
My husband decided he could replant the seeds again…or this time he could sprout the seeds first before replanting, hoping they would grow stronger. He sprouted the seeds in the house, then when they were mature, he took them outside and planted them in the dirt, supplying plenty of water and sunshine to encourage them to grow.
Planting a garden is very similar to raising children. To give your children the best start in life, it’s best to prepare yourself and your house before welcoming a child into your family. Since parenthood doesn’t always agree with your timetable, it’s never too early to get your house ready. Asking God’s protection and blessings over your children and to give you wisdom on a daily basis is priority number one. When we ask, God will provide. Establishing boundaries as well as creating an environment that is both fun and teaches responsibility is also essential to help our children see they are part of a family unit, not the center of the universe.
At some point, your child will mess up. It might be a small hiccup or it could be a crater the size of Texas. Either way, it’s inevitable that mistakes or bad choices will occur. Just as some seeds in our garden failed to grow this year, our kids will make mistakes, and we have a choice to make. We can give up the whole garden, tilling under the plants that were thriving and growing strong, or choose to keep watering and nurturing the seeds that are growing while replanting the seeds that didn’t.
When children make a mistake, it’s an opportunity to learn and grow in one area of their life that needs extra help. Sometimes the mistake is little and only one or two seeds need to be replanted. Other times, the mistake has bigger consequences and whole rows need to be tilled under. Then the new seedlings need extra attention to sprout inside where it’s safe until they are ready to be planted in the ground.
Our kids need to know that we are ready, with plenty of grace, when they mess up. It’s our job to re-prepare the soil, sprout the seeds in a safe environment, then replant with the proper amount of sunshine and water.
I’m glad our garden didn’t grow as planned this year. It gave me a vivid picture of the process I need to take with my kids when they mess up. I need to be a patient gardener, one who expects and welcomes opportunities to offer them a little extra help in life. I need to improve in this area so that I can be the best gardener of my children as possible. I’m grateful my husband is a great example of what a loving gardener should look like.
© Cheri Swalwell 2014