I somehow got the order mixed up on the blog challenge from the crew. Since I skipped over summer flowers I figured I would use that as a word prompt. I do love my summer flowers, the beauty that they bring, and I thought I’d walk you through the process of creating blossoms.
You know that expression… bloom where you are planted? It takes time to do that you know?
Preparing the Soil
new bedBefore any growth can occur, the ground in which the plants are in needs to be prepared. For me that means in the fall I add in compost and turn the soil over. In the spring I turn the soil again and any areas that didn’t get my summer compost will have winter compost added. I leave one garden without compost as year-old soil is better for beans. Sometimes I have to build a new bed. All this helps my garden to flourish. I can always tell the gardens that didn’t have the proper amendments made. They don’t do as well.
Children are the same way you know? They need a well-prepared soil, prepared in a way that suits them. Whether it’s done sooner or later doesn’t always matter, and sometimes the best amendments are to leave things alone. But preparations need to be made. Soil needs to be turned, thought given to what will go where, and proper care taken.
Whether you plant seeds or started plants changes how you plant.
A started plant will need hardening (where you get the plant used to a new environment). Then planting and minding, making sure it gets the water that it needs for growth.
Seeds need to be planted to the right depth. Some need to be moistened before planting to ensure good germination and still others need to be kept in the dark as sunlight makes them dormant.
So it is with children. I wouldn’t toss a child who has always been homeschooled into the world of public school without preparing his heart and mind. Children need seasoning and care taken to ensure they have the ability to handle the rigours of life. Doing everything for them doesn’t encourage their growth, and yet, not doing enough for them, giving them incremental steps, helps them develop the skills they need.
Sometimes, especially when you plant seeds, you get the plants a little close together. When this happens you need to thin them out. When you do so depends on the gardener. Some do so as soon as the plants come up, others wait until the plants start to produce, and yet again, others do so at any point in between. Giving plants room to grow provides a more abundant harvest.
BUT there’s another thing that happens as plants grow…. since there’s soil and water and basically everything that plants need to grow… volunteer plants show up! Some of these will be good volunteers (like my ground cherries that self-seed) and others will be what around here is called rabbit food. WEEDS! Weeds are really any plant growing where it’s not supposed. It could be an errant bean plant or potatoes, or more likely plants such as pigweed, ragweed, thistles, dandelions, grasses and the like. What weeds you get depends on where you are in the world.
So it is with families
Have you ever noticed the same is for children? They need room to grow. They don’t need to be crowded in by others just like them, they need the diversity, and space to spread their wings. When and how that room to grow comes in… depends on the child and who is minding them.
Just as the gardener will pluck weeds out of the garden, the one who minds a child will keep watch for weeds that pop up that could harm their child or make it difficult for them to grow. This isn’t always the easiest thing to do. Does one promote only Christian friends for their child? What if something in their family history could be harmful? So many what-ifs, it can be difficult to know what to keep and what to weed out.
Last week I performed what for me is a difficult task. Deciding what growth to keep in my tomato plants and what to cut away. I HATE this task. I’m always afraid that I will muck something out, cutting out what is actually necessary for production. If I don’t do it though, it sucks away the plant’s strength and results in a reduced harvest.
We need to do the same with our young, and just like with plants it is not the easiest thing. Is that spirit of grumbling a teenage thing or the sign of a prune job needed? Is that new friend just the person needed to spur a child on to greater heights or a weight to cause untold sorrow? Or that spirit of selflessness, is it a cry for help, a burgeoning lack of confidence or rather a child who has a servant’s heart? Through discernment we prune the suckers out of a child’s life, setting them up for the next stage… the harvest!
It’s the goal of every gardener isn’t it? The harvest! We don’t spend all our time with soil prep, planting, weeding and pruning just to say Oh yes, I grew a garden and I got some beautiful leaves. Like seriously…that is NOT our goal. We want our produce, whether it be beautiful flowers, or a bountiful harvest of beans, beets, corn or lettuces.
The same as it’s the goal of a parent, to produce a healthy harvest as well. A parent’s harvest is an adult capable of holding a job, caring for those around, and living out (if believers) the faith they were raised in. Sometimes, those goals have to be adapted to the child you are raising (due to special needs) but in the end, a parent wants to raise an independent adult. This is the harvest of parenting. 🙂
What steps do you think are necessary in creating blossoms in your offspring? How about in your garden?