Spring is coming, and while pretty little perennials are peeking forth from ground and awakening from their slumber, so are the weeds!
Weeding and gardening together provides us parents with the opportunity for teaching our children the discipline of work ethic, but also basic biblical truths about sin, the difference between soils (good soil, rocky soil, and soil infested in thorns), sowing and reaping, and so much more.
Most of you know we cultivated a small hobby vineyard (1300 vines) with our first five children about a decade ago. When lived on our small 3.5-acre farm we had MANY opportunities for having such conversations. We spent countless hours gardening, raising chickens, and working on the property.
Many of you might we thinking, “WOW! A vineyard, that sounds amazing!”
It was in many regards, but it was also A LOT of hard work, which provided the opportunity for refinement, not just for our children’s attitudes, but for ours as well.
When the pressure is on, or when you are physically exhausted and sore from squatting while weeding for a few hundred hours and holding your arms in the air while vine dressing for just as many hours, that is when what is in your heart is revealed.
There were many times when the kids didn’t feel like going out to work, and to be honest neither did I, but we had to persevere and get the job done.
Work ethic is not taught by reading a book about it, it is a character habit that is developed through daily training.
Maybe you don’t have a vineyard or even a farm, I am certain there are jobs, duties, and things that you need help completing to steward what God has blessed you with in your home and around it!
What tasks can you involve your child in now that will help you to intentional develop work-ethic in your child?
Here is one way I handled the conversation with my kids regarding the nuisance of weeds:
The most common complaint from children is that they don’t want to weed because they are prickly.
“I hate these weeds, they are prickly!”
Question 1.) “WHY? WHY MOM? WHY DID GOD HAVE TO MAKE WEEDS?
I love it! These are the kinds of conversations I simply love weeding with all the children. Such opportunity for teaching and training their perspectives, heart attitudes, and understanding of the scriptures with relation to real life!
I love hearing the older children pitch in to give their answers, everyone contributing toward answering the questions of the younger ones.
What is so fantastic about the younger one’s questions is that they often ask the most simple questions that have the deepest reflection. Questions that maybe we ourselves never really asked or thought about.
“Because you have listened to the voice of your wife
and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you,
‘You shall not eat of it,’
cursed is the ground because of you;
in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life;
thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you;
and you shall eat the plants of the field.
By the sweat of your face
you shall eat bread,
till you return to the ground,
for out of it you were taken;
for you are dust,
and to dust you shall return.”
Genesis 3:17-19 (ESV, emphasis mine)
The ANSWER: God cursed the ground when Adam sinned, making thorns and thistles to grow in the ground. Just as childbirth is still painful, there are still weeds that grow in the ground. This reminds us that we are living in a fallen world.
Question #2: But didn’t Jesus die for our sins? If he died for our sins why are there still weeds?
Awesome question, isn’t it?
Answer: “Yes, honey, Jesus did die for our sins, but we still sin don’t we? And other people also sin, right? His blood covers our sins and justifies us before God so that we may enter His presence and go to Heaven. However, weeds still exist, just like how we still sin. People still struggle with original sin. Weeds were one of the punishments for original sin. As long as original sin exists… there will be weeds.
Question #3: Well, we are Christians and we try not to sin, so why do we have so many weeds? Why don’t we have a little bit? It’s not fair.
Answer: We may try not to sin, but because we are human, we still fall to temptation sometimes don’t we? Weeds are our reminder of that truth. Every-time we see a weed we should be reminded of our humanity our sinful nature, be led to examine our hearts, and confess and repent, if there is anything in us that we have not asked Jesus to cleanse us of. Jesus came to die for the whole world (John 3:16), but our flesh is still one enemy the Spirit within us battles.
We have had many “WHYs” at our house as I am sure you have to!
I just love the why question. My first 2 children didn’t ask why very much. I think it was because I would often teach the why before they could ask. I want to encourage you moms and dads. When your child asks
Here is a word of advice to moms:
When your child asks why don’t get annoyed!
If you do, it will discourage them from asking you questions in the future. You should want your kids to be encouraged to ask you questions!
Instead, look at it as an opportunity to teach and train and led them to Christ and to His Word! Our responsibility as parents is, to know the Bible so that we can fully utilize this tool God has provided us with.