guidance

Heads up: this post may be slightly controversial, but if you’re still reading my blog after all this time, I assume we’re on the same page of music. šŸ™‚

So remember how I told you that I have a garden now? My garden is still one of my greatest joys. My mom says it gets yucky and buggy and yellow and dried-up-looking in August, but we are both enjoying our respective gardens right now, when things are lush and green and bearing beautiful FRUIT (you may be thinking vegetables, but it’s technically FRUIT)!

Anyway, I planted cucumbers at the start of the season. Cucumbers are producedĀ on small green vines that grow long and wind all over the place. They have these lovely little tendrils that reach out and grasp onto anything near them, directing their growth. They have little yellow flowers that turn into long, spiny cucumbers.

Obviously, the plants start on the ground. They start off as small little plants with two leaves. They look unassuming. Before you know it – and it can literally seem like overnight – they are almost a foot long, laying all over the ground.

As I carefully picked up each of my ten or twelve baby cucumber vines and propped them up on the trellis (where they latched on by the end of the day with their little tendrils), I was struck by how many analogies there are in gardening.

Our culture today would have us believe that children know best. We’re not supposed to tell them no, we’re not supposed to discipline them, and we’re always supposed to keep them happy. Nothing should be hard. Nothing should make them cry. We should never impose our will on them.

If I were to allow my cucumber vines to have their own way, they would choke some of my other plants. There would be one word to describe my garden in only a few weeks: chaos. And isn’t that the state of so many homes in America (and perhaps elsewhere) today? Chaotic. Out of control.

Some parents think that children can have their own way and run wild until a certain age. Say, 13. Or 16. Or 18. Then, all of the sudden, these children (or, young adults, rather) are expected to abide by a certain code of ethics. Their supposed to be responsible adults. It would be like trying to train my cucumber vines to climb my trellis after they’ve wound around my zucchini plants and choked out the basil. It’s impossible to do without killing the plant.

So when the plants and the children are small – very small, we train them. We gently direct them in the way they should go. When a plant is young, all I have to do is prop it up where I want it to climb, and it does just that. When it’s mature and coiled around things it shouldn’t be touching (like the bunny fence), then we have a problem, and I will have to cut off some of the plant to bring it backĀ to where I want it to go.

Doesn’t this sound reasonable?

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