To Train a Child

Spring has sprug and so has field trip season at school. One of the things I love about my job is the flexibility to chaperone on field trips and learn with my kids. Yes, being a Momma is a high calling and I try to rise to the occasion…as I load FIVE boys into my car for today’s adventure. Praise God for patience, a sense of humor and a sun-shiney beautiful day.

The focus today was seeds: how they grow, how pollination occurs, the parts of a plant, etc. It never ceases to amaze me how God made these plants and flowers and trees and the bugs and birds around them…coupled with wind and water…to all work together. It’s one big life-sustaining symbiotic symphony. After a short lesson with our enthusiastic and informative guide, we went for a walk and a scavenger hunt in the gardens.

This was not just an average garden. This place is known specifically for its magnificent topiaries. Ladew Gardens is a positively beautiful place to enjoy God’s creation and, also, the not-so-natural forms it can take in the hands of a Master Gardener.

This week we weeded the flower beds in the front of our home. I know first-hand what happens to a flower bed that is not attended to on a regular basis. While there are fields that are permitted to grow in a natural and wild manner, the shrubs flowers and plants at Ladew Gardens are constantly manicured, pruned, and trained. As they are sculpted with tender care, the topiaries take on the form of creatures and shapes and whimsical scenes. I wanted to share a few with you.

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While I could have taken in the sights all day (and plan to go back to do so), there is one particular practice that God placed front and center in my heart today.

Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6

In this vast garden, there were several visual pictures of just that….training.

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When a gardener trains a plant, they use a series of guide wires, sticks, ties and such to help the plant grow in a manner that is not natural. The above plants have been shaped in to patterns and designs with right angles that are not natural to the plant. This takes years of care, time, pruning, readjustment and patience. When I look at these beautiful images…these trained plants…I dwell on the job that God has given me in this home with our children.

Sin is natural. In Psalm 52:5 the psalmist says, “Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.” All throughout the scriptures it is clear that sin is our natural bent. It is natural for us to grow wild; deep inside we are still seeking the Son (or sun in the case of these plants). So the Master Gardener begins to prune…to run guide wires…to tie and cut…to trim and train. They still grow, but they grow in a manner in which they are carefully directed. Carefully guided. At times in the growth and molding of this beautiful creation,  a branch may shoot off the trellis and have to be tucked back into the fold- it’s bound to happen. But, upon maturity, these plants will reflect the design that the Master Gardener had carefully planned and lovingly manicured.

Lord, as I dwell on this beautiful example you have placed before me today, please bless our efforts to train our children up. I pray that when they are old, they will not depart from it.

 

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