It is that time of year again! It actually began around the first few dry days we had in March. A methodical covering of the ground with Round-Up to kill all the weeds that had grown over the winter. Then a few weeks later I turned the soil over and worked in some compost from the pile outside the goat barn. Then around mid-May I tilled up the soil and made the final preparations for planting.
This year is not unlike most years. My wife and I put in lots of time and effort in hopes of finally achieving a garden that is not only pleasing to the eye, but also one that yields plenty of fresh and delicious fruits and vegetables that we can enjoy all summer and preserve some for winter. Charlene usually spends several hours on the internet finding all kinds of "pinteresting" ways that we can plant, or things that we can build or buy to make help make the garden both beautiful and bountiful. We have tried all kind of ideas over the years. This year we are trying raised beds filled with premium planting soil. We are also in the middle of building a small gazebo and going to try to grow a grape arbor up the sides. Thank you Pinterest!
We have had some great gardens over the years. But I think I can honestly say that we have never had a garden that has lived up to it all we had hoped. For a couple of weekends in the spring we get excited about the idea of a perfect garden. It is a nice spot, good sunlight, good soil.....so much untapped potential. All we need to do is plant the seeds, keep the weeds out, keep the deer, slugs, insects, birds out, fertalize it and water it. That's it! So each year we start out on a great note in May. And by the end of June we have a weed bed, or the deer have eaten the corn, or some of the seeds didn't germinate, or we forgot to water for a couple days during a 90 degree heat spell, or the slugs come in and kill the cucumbers!
Good intentions don't make a good garden. Time, care, sweat, effort, love even....that makes a good garden. My wife and I fall very short when it comes to making the garden a priority and spending the time and effort it really takes to help our little garden grow and reach it's potential.
So as I was planting a few weeks ago, I was busy thinking about these things and how we really need to put forth a better effort this year. Need to make it a real priority. And then the Holy Spirit tosses a thought at me from out of left field. It was a "connecting the dots" moment for me and it awakened my soul to a deeper reality. Growing a garden is like growing kids. That is all He said. But it was enough to make the point.
I started wondering if all of the intentions I have towards my kids are being accomplished. They have so much potential. They could grow into the most beautiful people and they could yield an unbelievable crop with their lives. Am I doing enough to help them reach that potential? Or do I get complacent and miss opportunities to really help make an impact in their lives?
Busyness is the great enemy of our culture. Busyness and its relative, tiredness take so much away from us that important things like leading our children and really being intentional with them often get lost in the shuffle. There is so much to teach them. So much to show them. So much to help them discover about themselves, their desires, their God, the world, the enemy. I want them to be confident. I want them to know who they are. I want to validate them. I want to help them become what God intended when He created them.
That is a tall order. That won't just happen by taking a casual approach to parenting like I take a casual approach to gardening. It is not something I can do on my own either. I need Gods help to accomplish this crucial task. Mostly it will just take time, care, sweat, effort and lots and lots of love.
The kids will be out of school soon. This summer would be a good time to start being more intentional in raising our kids. What if we all made plans to take our kids on one overnight camping trip this summer and just dedicate that time to being intentional in what we want to pass on to them. What do you want to teach them, show them, help them understand or discover. Make a list and make them your talking points for your time together.
We have a great resource that we have developed for fathers to lead their sons. It is a 12 lesson journey and each lesson is on a different trait of manhood. These are biblical, masculine traits that every man as an image bearer of God is hard wired to possess. Things like bravery, wisdom, passion, taking risks, leadership, etc. This would be a great place to start in being more intentional in raising your sons. We are still developing a father-daughter resource but should have one by next spring. Take a look on our website at the youth kits if you are interested in this great tool.
So we will call this the FITF SUMMER CHALLENGE. Take your son or daughter on a camping trip this summer. Be intentional in passing on something that you value and want them to learn. Then shoot us an email and tell us about it at firstname.lastname@example.org We would love to hear your stories and we would be encouraged by parents stepping up their game in this crucial role of being parent/master gardener!
BUT WAIT THERE IS MORE! When we recieve your email we will place your name in a drawing for a $50 gift card to Cabela's! Emails must be recieved by 8/31/14. Please include name, address, phone number. Then tell us a brief recap of your camping trip and how you were intentional in passing on something to your child. Please include SUMMER CHALLENGE in the subject line of your email.
If you don't win the gift card I'll send you a zuchinni from the garden. ;) This is going to be the year of abundance!