This week I was arrested by a comment ‘how do you take care of the things that God has given you?’ …. well actually I was more than arrested, I was stopped in my tracks!
In life, we consider ourselves masters of somethings, e.g. gardening, learners, for some parenting(!), and truants in others (cooking!). I decided to enrol my children into the home school class of gardening, not because I thought they would like it but because ... well … let’s face it, I needed some help weeding! Surely teaching them about the rudiments of growth in nature would delight and obviously there are plenty of parallels you can draw across from it spiritually... blimey I think to myself ‘cross curricular education ... you can’t go wrong!’
So, we started well, and I had three children learning about the importance of nutrients for growth. Not only is good soil important but the right soil for the right season of growth ... we got our pots out and opened the seeds. Unfortunately, by the time we got to pushing our seeds in, I had lost one pupil and expelled another (who was now sitting up on top of the shed roof sulking)! Ah well, retaining one out of three isn’t bad! Anyway, 7 days later, I hear an excited squeal by the expelled pupil who now wanted to re-enrole! “Mummy, Mummy, the seeds are alive!”
And suddenly, my children had learnt about faith and expectation.
During the past 5 weeks we started to watch and wait, and some serious lessons have been learnt, regarding nurture, the importance of water and, in Luke’s case, not so much water! Of potting up and keeping their precious seedings safe from brother’s footballs and, of course, slugs!
The growth of faith is (as you know) much like that of seeds. Successful sustainable growth is accomplished by adhering to routines and following the instructions on the packet! My children have learnt that a positive attitude and diligence are needed. They have learnt for the first time with seeds and, with others, they have discovered the hard way. Their little faces have dropped; they saw seedlings scorched and withered or eaten when they forgot to protect what was dear to them.
I am reminded through this process that as a spiritual parent this is of course replicated. I am reminded to think about the nourishment I am serving up in my homeschool’s curriculum and providing for others in the spheres of our lives.
I love the way that in every event of Jesus’s life it was always about others. Everything He did and still does, is about growing mankind on, potting us up, pulling out the weeds, watering, providing a strong support and all the rest ….
So, lets respond to His example and ask ourselves the questions. Let’s remind ourselves of the conditions we need to provide for ourselves, our families our friends to achieve growth. Let’s stay faithful to what we hold dear, stay diligent in the smallest of details, and treat each life moment with care. Let’s keep our eyes on future growth developing. As adults I believe it is so important to ‘seize the day’, especially when parenting faith. To remind ourselves it is how we manage today that determines the future opportunities we will have with them tomorrow.
I know it is easy as a parent to forget to change the soil when you are growing kids on. However, in this season where church is less accessible to our younger children, I cannot stress the importance of learning where your children are, navigating a direction forward with them and potting them up into soil that is correct for their individual needs.
Hands up, I have got plenty wrong and discovered some things about my kids learning and engagement over faith these past few weeks. I have learnt that some of my children were reading (or not reading) totally inappropriate bibles for their age and learning style, so now we have made a change and they are loving that change! We have found more apps and internet sites than I ever knew was out there. This is helping them to explore and challenge their thinking about Christianity in a way they can relate to. But of course, what’s always great, is talking about key God moments in your life with them... I sat down the other night and opened up the conversation with my 8 and 10-year-old. I’ll tell you now, I got some interesting questions as I described what happened to me when I was 8 and filled with the Holy spirit and started to speak in tongues ... So the conversation has started, I don’t have all the answers, I won’t ever know all the answers, that doesn’t matter. What matters is …the foundation is laid …..let’s see where it takes us …. And why not …
Matthew 19:14 (NIV)
Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”