We need to be mindful of the seeds we plant in our children’s lives.
Mary J. Blige, an international recording artist, once said that when she looks in the mirror, she sometimes sees the damaged soul of her past because of the seeds planted in her head during her childhood.
Simply saying we love our children is not enough; we need to demonstrate our love in practical ways. As flowers need water and sunshine to grow, our children need individualized attention and a caring touch to enable growth to their fullest potential.
I carry significant guilt about a particular sunflower seed incident. Actually, make that two sunflower seeds. When our two oldest daughters were in preschool, they came home one day with sunflower seeds wrapped in cotton wool. They told us they had taken responsibility for the seeds’ eventual growth into thriving plants.
For the most part, they remembered to water the seeds and talk to them daily. I remember walking into the kitchen and finding our oldest daughter engaged in conversation with the seeds at the windowsill where we had put the pieces of cotton wool.
There was a real sense of excitement when the first little green sprouts appeared. Eventually, each sunflower was strong enough to be planted in our garden, so my husband Steven dutifully dug two holes into which we placed the sunflower plants. He erected a small wire fence around each planted area to protect them from being trampled.
What we did not take into account was our dog Jake’s toilet habits. The little plants were growing beautifully until Jake started to lift his leg to dispense his own brand of “watering.” We witnessed what was happening and moved the perimeter of the fence a bit farther away from the plants.
Jake took this as a challenge and became more determined to sprinkle them. It was as if he were in competition with himself to see how far his reach could extend! The acid in his urine ultimately killed our budding sunflowers.
As parents, we should have put a much stronger barrier around our sunflower plants to protect them. Similarly, we need to establish the same boundaries with our children. We need to surround them with a solid physical, emotional, and spiritual fortress of protection during their youth. We need to envelop them with our continual prayers and share how God has blessed us and is at work in our lives.
Furthermore, Solly Ozrovech writes: “If we pray the blessing of the Lord for our children, it must be because we have experienced it as a reality in our lives.”
We must commit to reading the Bible to our children since the Bible declares:“The seed is the word of God” (Luke 8:11). We must purpose to plant His seed in their hearts when they are young and have fertile soil in their hearts. It is only as they become older that this soil becomes tainted and polluted.
As stated in God’s Word, “But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop” (Luke 8:15).
We can strive to instill a good self-image and feelings of worth in our children, along with the assurance that they are loved. However, children are born with their own minds; as they mature, they experience a freedom of choice about which road they desire to travel.
Bearing this in mind—and because of my own parental insecurities—I find comfort in the words a minister once spoke:
“If your children behave badly and make wrong life choices, take heart. Adam and Eve had the perfect father in God and just look at how they rebelled!”
Extract from God’s Promise for Families