The two small pines sat on my deck for weeks waiting to be planted.
I bought them knowing it would take me a while to get them in the ground, but time stretched on and, you know how it goes – life happens.
The morning after our first snow, I figured it was about time.
Their small branches were weighted down with the heavy, wet stuff, and I knew I needed get digging.
After recruiting one of my sons to help me with the job, we got on our old clothes and trudged out into the weather, ready to dig some serious holes.
As we set about our work: cutting into the thick, wet mud, lowering the heavy trees into the holes and filling them with dirt and pine bark, something began to happen between the two of us.
We talked. Really talked. As my son and I worked out there in the cold, I had the rare and wonderful opportunity to walk through an open door into a teen’s life.
Our conversation came easily, and for once it was uninterrupted. We got to talk about his friends, video games, his college aspirations -- things that were important to him.
_ Things that I would have missed in the normal day-to-day of our large family.
In any size family there is always tons of work to be done, and if you’re like me, you may feel as though it will never end.
I used to joke with my friends when they walked through my laundry room. As they surveyed my mountains of dirty clothes, I’d tell them that it was my “life’s work.” Ha!
But you know, the one thing that’s helped us with the household tasks is “sharing the load” with our kids.
When my boys were little, I remember buying the smallest cleaning gloves I could find and using toxic-free cleaning products just so they could help clean our bathrooms.
One of my sons loved his gloves and, pretending he was a “Rescue Hero,” decided to direct the show with a loud bellow: “Okay everybody, let’s move on out.”
We’ve got an end table in our living room where all our local dust bunnies like to hang out. Every time one of my kids has the job of vacuuming this room, I draw their attention to the party that’s going on down there. Normally, my kids do a good job of clearing out the place – and not one of them has been bitten yet!
Through all the hard work, I feel that our family gains more than a cleaner living space. I think that there’s some character building going on here as well.
Just the other day, my youngest daughter stood on a chair helping me make turkey burgers for dinner. It was a new recipe, and she had already made her decision not to eat it, especially after discovering that the ground turkey “looked like worms.”
But after helping me mix the ingredients and shape the patties, a wonderful change took place in her. And by the time the food hit the plates, my daughter was not only willing to try it – she was ready to like it!
When I get these rare “open door” moments to work beside my kids, I sometimes take the opportunity to talk with them about God and how they can apply biblical principles into their lives. It seems that “insider” occasions like these can be the best times to teach.
Moses, while encouraging the Israelites to obey God’s
commands, told his people to do likewise. He instructed them to teach their
kids about God’s law while they were doing the “stuff” of life.
Here it is in
Deuteronomy 11:19: “You shall teach them to your sons, talking of them when you
sit in your house and when you walk along the road and when you lie down and
when you rise up.” This pretty much covered their whole day didn’t it?
I think it’s important we don’t just pull out our Bibles when it’s time for a disciplinary speech, or a reprimand but bringing scriptural principles into our everyday living is key. I think this makes for some good soil it so that the “seeds” of scripture can dig in deep.
Well, our little pines are snug in their soft, earthy beds, and I’m hoping the hungry deer don’t consider them a tasty snack. I’ve fittingly called them “Hope” and “Glory” in a scriptural reminder to my family of Christ in them the hope of glory.
Here are some Bible verses that'll help you on your journey:
Ephesians 6:4The Message
Fathers, don't exasperate your children by coming down hard on them. Take them by the hand and lead them in the way of the Master.
Deuteronomy 4:9 New Living Translation
“But watch out! Be careful never to forget what you yourself have seen. Do not let these memories escape from your mind as long as you live! And be sure to pass them on to your children and grandchildren.
Psalm 78:4 New Living Translation
We will not hide these truths from our children; we will tell the next generation about the glorious deeds of the Lord, about his power and his mighty wonders.