In the last couple of posts we’ve been talking about the similarities between raising children and planting a garden. This is the final post in this series. Thank you, dear reader, for being patient with the delay of this last post. 

I love the warm, lazy days of summer. One of my favorite highlights of the summer is sitting down to a meal and seeing before me fruits and vegetables that came straight from my garden. As a kid there were many dinner meals in which well over half of what we ate came from our own land. I’ve always thought the foods that I’ve grown and picked taste far better than those I purchase in the store. Sometimes they probably do, sometimes the “taste” is more of a psycological thing. In either case, reaping the benefits of hard work is good.
One of the nice things about harvesting a garden is that it’s not usually a one-time thing. Plants ripen at different rates and even continue producing, so there are typically several weeks of harvest. It’s fun to watch baby tomatoes ripen as you pick the already juicy ones. 
So in raising children, the benefits of our hard work, pulling weeds, preparing the soil, planting seeds, and watering will be long term. Thankfully, even now, while I’m in the midst of early childhood raising, I get little tiny harvests. When my daughter gives me a hug and a kiss or when she demonstrates kindness to others I feel like I’m reaping in a tiny little harvest. I look forward to the larger harvests that will come as she grows older but these little tastes of the sweet harvest give me motivation to keep up the hard work. 
There is a proper time for harvest. We wouldn’t expect a tree to bear fruit in the winter unless that was what it was supposed to do. We also know that there is a proper order to planting, which we’ve gone through over the last few weeks. So with raising children there is a proper order to raising them. We cannot expect to harvest a crop of good behavior and virtures if we have not worked to plant the seeds earlier. Sadly, it seems that many parents try to do this. We don’t understand why our kids are disrespectful or defiant when we have not taught them to be otherwise when we had the opportunity.
It is also difficult to try to plant when you should be harvesting, simply because it is not the right season. I think that this is especially true as our children become teenagers and young adults. That is not the time to try to teach them obedience and respect if those seeds have not previously been planted. While there may be some results and a harvest, it will be meager compared to what it could have been if the planting had been done at the proper time. 

Well, those are my insights. I’d love to hear your thoughts and comments on this. I am most certainly in the soil preparation and early seed planting stages of my child’s life right now. I know I have a lot to learn as my kids and I grow together but I am so thankful for the delightful task of watching the seeds that are planted develop in my children.

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