Wednesday, June 8, 2011
Earlier in the year we had plans to garden with our friend who passed away recently. We just figured that wouldn't be happening now since he had gone to be with the LORD - but his son is so busy now & doesn't have the time to really tend to the garden so he offered to let us give it a try this season! I must admit here that we are not quite getting the full experience as far as the work that's typically involved in gardening - because we are SO spoiled!! The ground is well cultivated and prepared. The soil is rich! The rows have been well tended and have grass in between to keep the weeds down. All we had/have to do was/is plant, weed & harvest. His son coached us on the layout, how deep to plant, when/what to fertilize - and as we were planting he put up a fence to keep the deer out. Seed his dad had already purchased, fertilizer and water (he waters it!) were included in the package as well! After we plugged in our tomato plants, we came out the next day and they had all been securely staked & strung up for us! See what I mean when I say we are spoiled?! Not to mention that the garden is located in the midst of one beauty-full (and by that I do mean full of beauty!) corner of creation about a 20 minute drive from our house. Just being there is such a treat for us city folk. The garden is a family affair. The girls enjoy going out to the farm as much as we do. We planted tomatos, squash, peppers, melons, herbs, lettuce, carrots, potatoes & pumpkins! Last night we arrived to find the first shoots pushing their way thru' the soil. What a thrill! I wish we could share this experience with our friend. We miss him so much. But his son is so much like him that its kinda like havin' him there ;) I hope the garden does well for several reasons. Among them ... so we can bless others with a bountiful harvest as our friend did -- and so our girls can learn first hand some of the many biblical (life) lessons/principles/concepts a garden illustrates and demonstrates so well.
One such principle struck me in a timely way when we were at the garden recently:
Several of our plants drooped big time after being transplanted. I was concerned but our "coach" said they would likely get worse before they got better. See...they were raised in a green house. Sheltered from the wind and weather. While they looked healthy when I bought them, they didn't possess the strength needed to stand on their own ... strength that only some exposure to the elements would have given them. Sure enough...after a few days most of them recovered - but it looks like a few of them aren't going to make it.
It all served as a timely and poignant reminder of the challenge I face every day as a parent in trying to maintain a healthy balance between doing enough and doing too much for my kids - or another way of saying it would be in "doing for" and teaching my children to become independent versus allowing them to do more for themselves and learn from experience (also sometimes known as "the hard way") in a society that downplays hard work, moral integrity and personal responsibility. Tho' it is one of the biggest personal challenges I face as a parent, I do strive to maintain some semblance of balance here because I'm convinced that children that are coddled/over-protected are much like tender plants raised in a greenhouse - in that, when given minimal exposure to "real life" (including but not limited to hard work, consequences, frustration, sorrow & even failure now & then), they grow up lacking the inner strength (confidence, integrity, moral character and wisdom) necessary to handle what reality is bound to challenge them with at some point.
The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to
work it and take care of it.