I stop mid-row in the garden to check on Baby Girl. I see that she is standing in the row of corn with her foot firmly planted on top of one of the tender plants. She doesn't realize that she's trampling all over our future food. I pick her up and move her gently to the freshly tilled dirt between the rows and resume my weeding.
I glance up to check on The Stinker's row of corn and realize he's left several weeds in between each good plant. I kneel down to show him the difference between the grass that he should pluck and the small grass of the corn. He examines them and confirms that he now knows which to pull and which to leave.
And as I walk back to my own row, it occurs to me that this is why children need parents. They don't know the weeds from the vegetables. They don't always recognize what will harm them from what will benefit them. Without our guidance, they might step all over a good relationship and walk all over a heart because they don't realize what they are doing. Without our guidance, they might leave a weed that would be better removed from their life -- a movie, a show, a book, a person, a habit.
There are some that say this approach is restrictive. They think we should allow children to experience everything without limits because they'll just want to do what is forbidden or will be exposed to it at some point anyway. I disagree. I know I'm just tending to the ones God entrusted to me. I'm helping them to recognize that there is a Gardener of their hearts that truly cares about what kinds of seeds they plant and grow in their souls. And I want the harvest to be good.
"And we pray . . . . that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God." (Colossians 1:9-11)
"I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener." (John 15:1)