Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Why My Parenting Skills Need to Be Better than My Gardening Skills

I found the following Spurgeon quote in my latest copy of "Above Rubies":
“If any of you think that you have a perfect child, you will find yourselves grievously mistaken—the time will come when you will discover that evil is lurking there as it is in you, the father, or in you, the mother—and it will only need a suitable opportunity to display itself! It will scarcely need fostering by ill companions—but even in a godly household where the atmosphere of piety abounds—sin will grow up in the child as naturally as weeds grow in a garden that is left to itself.”—1901, Sermon #2734
This post really struck me - for several reasons. Firstly, as I have before stated, it has been a source of constant amazement to me how hard parenting is. I had always assumed that it was something of a side job. "Hey, I run an international company, lecture at the garden club, and teach judo. Oh-and-I-have-two-wonderful-kids-at-home." Something that just didn't take much time or effort to do well.

Boy, was I wrong. Parenting is a day-in-day-out, 24-7 job that requires an incredible amount of time, prayer, and constant effort. It is the most challenging thing that I have ever done - and the one with the most potential for either good or disaster (I'm praying for the former).

Secondly, this quote resonated with me because of its applicability to my front planter - which at the moment, happens to be occupied by an extremely neglected garden. I've already written about how bad character traits or habits in children are just like weeds, and the similar analogy to a neglected garden is just as apt.

Neglected gardens just don't happen! Or rather, they happen, but they happen badly. Our "garden," at the moment, consists of lettuce gone to seed, moth-eaten undeveloped cabbages (not sure what happened to the "cabbage" part of the cabbages), chard that never grew because I forgot to water it, and micro-carrots (less than an inch in length) that didn't grow properly because we didn't till the ground well or thin them when we should have.

What a mess!
 I'm sure the analogy isn't hard to draw!

I don't mind having a neglected garden - I can always start over (or just nuke the entire thing and plant groundcover). But I would mind very much if my parenting went the same way. Though I may or may not do a good job, I want to try, try, try to do the best I can. Watering, weeding, feeding, and constant efforts to do my best - that is what I want to do, and what I need to do. This is the biggest job I will ever have, and I want to do a good job.

At this point, it's hopeless. Bring on the mower. 
 "The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself brings his mother to shame." 
(Proverbs 29:15)

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