My dad loved the outdoors.
But not just any place outdoors. He loved working in his yard. And, he had the gift! He knew what he was doing. My daddy had a good eye and the green thumb touch. It was so beautiful, I had my engagement pictures taken in our backyard….it was as beautiful as any park.
He knew exactly what it needed and when. He fertilized, watered and trimmed religiously. This yard was sculpted into a tropical oasis.
I’ll never forget, however, the work my brother and I were recruited to do one spring Saturday. Before the grass ever went in, we were on rock and pebble duty. Now, before you think “how hard can that be?”, let me tell you we lived in the hill country of Texas. A sledge hammer was used to set fence post holes due to the rocky terrain. Yeah.
So, imagine millions and millions of rocks and pebbles littering this painfully bare plot of ground. Ok, well, maybe not millions.
As a 12 year old, I’m pretty sure it felt like a quarry!!
But, these pesky rocks had to go to make way for beautiful green grass. In order for the grass roots to, well, take root and thrive, the land had to be prepped. #Loads.Of.Fun. I’m sure he said it built character…….along with driving the green Ford station wagon as my first car. That was my daddy.
It doesn’t seem we hear that word very much anymore. On any given day I can find an article on Facebook about parenting for good self-esteem; or how about parenting for great intelligence. Maybe, parenting towards tolerance and inclusiveness is the key. Maybe it’s parenting to sensitivity and emotional wholeness and generosity. It certainly does run the spectrum. We can take a look at society as a whole and realize some parenting may be going in the right direction, yet so much is not.
Character seems to be an old-school word.
But, part of giving our Loves roots is shaping their nature into strong, moral beings.
There is accountability and courage to do the right thing—even in a world gone mad.
Character is doing the right thing even when you may not benefit or nobody may ever know otherwise.
Character is looking out for others—being aware of the other person’s feelings.
Character is working hard and serving one another–regardless of how big or small the task or person.
Forgiving and holding your tongue, even when it would certainly be easier to set everyone straight….that should set the standard.
Generosity and graciousness should guide decisions in a world that applauds grabbing all you can get.
Our children must know there is a code of right and wrong. They need a moral compass.
How about respect for human life? Or, maybe simply being respectful.
It may mean taking responsibility for a poor decision without placing blame or running the bus over other people.
They provide the moral compass and the centering force for all we do or don’t do.
Imagine the chaos in even the very littlest of our littles when the root system is not cultivated. They feel most secure when clear boundaries are in place. Oh, some things are cute when they are an adorable one year old. But, come 13. Yeah, not so cute anymore. There are so many beautiful life lessons we can teach the Loves God has given to us.
So, here are some wise thoughts to make this happen…..straight from Deuteronomy 11:18-21:
Pray for them.
- We can’t do it alone. Not in this world we live in. We need God to help us. He knows them better than we do! I regularly pray “help me partner with You as I parent.”
- We have to teach them and write it on their hearts. Not only when it’s the cute little baby Bible, but when they are strong and the world is fiercely pitching its message.
- “Do as I do….not just what I say.” Live it out when it’s hard, even when it would be so much easier to turn and run. They don’t need to see shallow hype.
It is our job to train them, shape them and send them soaring from the nest. This world needs them! The world needs you to pour into them and expect them to step up and be the very best they can be.
Is it all going to go smoothly? Nope. Will we make mistakes? You bet. But, they can learn from that as well. Love and authenticity goes a long way to smoothing out the bumps. Remember, God gave them to you……and you to them.