Is Parenting Like Raising a Garden? Part II - Todd Grover
I embarked on a journey this summer of raising a garden. It has not gone totally as planned, as much of life does not, but I have learned some amazing similarities between gardening and raising a family. I stated some of these lessons in my previous blog and desire to add to the learning experience here.
As mentioned in my previous blog, I failed to place my raised garden in a location that would allow for an adequate amount of sunshine. My current location has too much shade. As a result of my miscalculation, all aspects of plant growth and vegetable production have been slowed. The growth is there, but slow. On several occasions I thought to myself, just till this garden up, cut your losses, move the raised beds, and start over next year. Without fail, after entertaining these thoughts, I would see progress in the garden. Example: my seven and a half feet tomato plants (I am not exaggerating at all). First discouragement, they would not grow. I thought I planted them wrong. Next, they were infected with a fungus. Next, they grow like weeds, but no tomatoes. Next, tomatoes, but they stayed green forever and a day. People all over Facebook were proudly displaying the fruits of their labor, canned this and canned that from the floor to their ceilings, from gardens that I know were planted after mine. Finally, one glorious morning, a slightly red tomato. Then green beans. Then peppers. Then a zucchini. Lesson: keep at it and fruit (or in this case, vegetables) will come.
Has child rearing for you been less than fruitful in your eyes? You are a little embarrassed or frustrated when other parents share their bounty of child rearing with you. How they have fruit stacked from floor to ceiling in their home. Let me share this with you, stay with it. It is tempting at times to say, what is the point, there is nothing coming from my garden. Or, my garden is coming along so slowly. You know as I look back on this whole gardening experience, nothing in my garden was dead, just painfully, gut-wrenching slow. I panicked, but none of the plants did. What my plants needed was for me to keep watering them, keep wedding them, keep securing them, keep the fungus off and not till them under. My plants just needed me to keep investing in them.
The apostle Paul makes a marvelous parenting statement in Ephesians 3:13 “So I ask you not to lose heart over what I am suffering for you, which is your glory” ESV. Wow, is that a powerful statement. I, the apostle Paul, am suffering for you. Why? So that God can produce His glory in you. We have no idea how long Paul had been suffering, the degree of his suffering, we just know he had been suffering, so that God’s glory could be revealed in the family of God at Ephesus. This takes self-sacrifice, suffering and time. Consider how Paul said basically the same thing in Galatians 3:19. “My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you.” KJV. Time, self-sacrifice, personal discomfort equals, produce.
Now, you will not see my Facebook page plastered with the bounty from my garden. I barely had enough green beans to fill a bottom of a boiling pot of water. But there were green beans there. Next year, another garden will be planted making the necessary corrections learned from this year’s mistakes. I suppose next year, I will learn about more improvements that can be made. Point: do not give up on your garden, the one in your yard and the one in your home.