Rose Child August 2018
Tending my roses I learn some things that are not unlike raising my children.
If you water roses deeply, regularly, and often enough, their roots go way down. Water shallowly, and two things happen. First their roots rise to where the water is found. That close to the surface, the roots become subject to the burn of the sun. Secondly, because the roots are grasping for sustenance, they may pickup things that are not healthy for them.
With children we must spend time, both in quantity and quality, sharing the knowledge and wisdom we have. If we talk only of the weather, what’s for dinner, and who won the baseball game last night, our relationship will only be as deep as those of our co-workers on the job – a complete walkaway at the end of the day. Rather, we need to talk of things that concern us about the world and how we plan to make our impact felt. Engage them in projects that cause them to think and then discover who they are. With thoughts rooted deeply in our patriotism, our faith, and our values they can take the scorching of the world and still thrive. They will continue to seek wisdom from us and not from others.
My roses need fertilizer every six weeks. It is not enough to try to remember that so I put a rolling post-it note in my daytimer. The deep watering does little good without the fertilizer because the roots are seeking nourishment. With my son, each year we picked a topic from cars, to hand tools, to cooking. Then special events, sales, and shopping trips replaced the post-it note as a reminder of our focus for the year.
Our children need more than their daily bread. They want to hear our tales of triumph and failure. They want to know how we learned and how we make decisions. Those teachings, wrapped around real stories, become alive for them. At any age they can continue to learn these lessons. We cannot tell a four year old girl the same stories as a forty year old daughter. That fact does not make the stories less important. Being transparent about our failures will do much to prepare them for what the world doles out but we must be vulnerable to do so. We do this with our best friends so why should we not with our children.
When my roses get bugs, the gloves go on and the battle begins. There is nothing I won’t buy and no amount of time I won’t spend to save my roses from aphids, white flies, and spider mites. As much as I like to grow organically, this is not the time for peppermint spray. I become a systemic, spraying, army-level combatant. My roses have no voice in this matter as I move into action.
With my children, when I perceive a threat to their health or safety, I will abandon all else to which I dedicate my time to push the menace away from my precious child. I will almost always know what is best even when my child disagrees. I have no mercy for the elements which pose that threat. This is the natural way of things, and sticking close to our children, sustaining our marriages, and being true to our family, those are the critical ways to make life bloom. Then you will be blessed with the sweet smell of success.