Those who know me well will know that I am the “anti-Martha Stewart”. I’ve never had an affinity for house-keeping, cooking, baking, and my vacuum cleaner has cob webs on it. It’s not that I don’t know how to clean, dust, and the like, it’s that I don’t much care for the tasks so procrastination is my middle name when it comes to domestic chores. My father speaking in his oftentimes comical Danish accent and less than grammatically perfect English would say that sometimes you “gotta do what you gotta do”. To this day I’ve lived out that motto. I don’t much like to clean house but I “gotta do what I gotta do”.
The same thing applies to my meagre efforts at keeping a garden. My girlfriend Jean, says she loves to garden. I don’t understand that mentality at all. I love flowers and greenery growing in my garden, but coaxing the plants to grow by weeding and tilling the soil does not cause me much enjoyment.
My daughter had her graduation banquet a few weeks ago but her journey is not yet done with school. She still has two courses to complete and two diploma exams to write before she can officially throw her cap into the air and celebrate her completion of high school. Not to mention, in September she’ll pick up the books again as she starts her post-secondary education. She knows that her schooling is not over, not by a long shot! She’s not done, and neither are we; we’ve not gathered in the harvest and we’re still “tilling the soil”.
As parents we will continue to “till the soil” (teach, care, guide, protect etc. etc.) continuously throughout our children’s lifetimes. It never stops. From the day they are born we try to instill values, morals, and wisdom learned from our experiences into their lives. Just like a gardener, we plant what we would like them to sow, and pull out all the weeds that we know will hinder their growth. It’s an arduous task at times and some years we experience times of plenty, a bountiful seasonal harvest for our efforts, and sometimes it’s just back-breaking, heartbreaking drudgery and drought that makes us question whether being a parent is worth it.
I look at my three wonderful children, all brilliant young adults in their own right and I can honestly say, It’s All Worth It!
Jesus had many parables that spoke about tilling the soil to yield a good crop. Growing with God is paramount to successful living. Good soil is needed for seed to grow and prosper. (Matthew 13:8) Weeds are commonplace and often times necessary for testing and correction. (Matthew 13:29) Teaching or tilling (my analogy), must be a continuous act. (Deuteronomy 6:4-9). The farmer works the land he’s been given and takes no credit for the harvest but gives all glory to God. (Matthew 16:27)
Parents, you have been given a great task in raising up your children in the way they should go. Like gardening in the hopes of planting a bountiful garden, keep tilling the soil, training your children, admonishing them, loving them through those times when all you might see are weeds. It’s a tough job, but as parents we “gotta do what we gotta do”.