Monday, March 6, 2017

What We Can Learn About Parenting From Gardening

How blessed are all who fear Yahweh, who walk in his ways! … Your children round your table like shoots of an olive tree. Psalm 128:1,3

May our sons be like plants growing tall. Psalm 144:12

Gardeners necessarily keep their eyes on the future. They must plan well to end up with a good garden. They must do a lot of preliminary work to get that garden started and maintain it, work that must be done long before the first crops are picked. The anticipation of those crops—their utility and beauty—motivates us to tackle multiple, not always pleasant, tasks between planting and harvesting.

Take weeding for example. My experience is that weeding is, almost universally, one of the least favorite gardening tasks. We do it, not particularly enjoying it at the time, but are glad later that we did. The garden looks much better as soon as we do it and the ultimate crop is lush and bountiful because we got it done.

Raising kids follows the same pattern. It too is future oriented; kids are mostly potential as we raise them, and we work now so that they can realize their potential later. We have to plan for their future, and do a lot of things now, to prepare them for what will happen later. Some of those tasks can be less than pleasant,  Proverbs 13:24, Proverbs 19:18,  Proverbs 22:15, Proverbs 23:13-14, Proverbs 29:15, Sirach 30:1-13, Sirach 42:9-11, but we will be glad we did them:

Whoever is strict with his son will reap the benefit, and be able to boast of him to his acquaintances. 3 Whoever educates his son will be the envy of his enemy, and will be proud of him among his friends. 4 Even when the father dies, he might well not be dead, since he leaves his likeness behind him. 5 In life he has had the joy of his company, dying, he has no anxieties. Sirach 30:2-4

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