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Growing Children in the Vegetable Aisle

February 4, 2013

CarrotThis picture is of a carrot from our garden. You can see that it is shaped very uniquely. Now, I pride myself in planting my garden in good soil. However, something was left in the dirt that caused this carrot to grow funny.

I have not taken one single horticulture class, but I’m quite convinced that this carrot did not divide late in its maturity. Early in its development, I surmise, it hit an obstacle and began to take its contorted course of development.

Think about our children. Our calling is to create the best possible environment for our children to grow and flourish. We will never and should not remove all of the obstacles. However, we need to make sure we don’t put any unnecessary blocks in their path. We need to give them a safe environment free from abuse: verbal, physical, and emotional. We need to nurture their faith and encourage them to grow roots deep into the heart of God. We need to challenge them to develop their mental and physical skills.

We can’t see which carrots are straight and strong and which have split and become twisted. When they have had time to mature we pull them and what you see is what you get. With children, we can intervene before the impact of their struggles become permanent. We can intervene with offers love and encouragement. We can support them as they face the challenges of adolescence. We can protect them from inappropriate material and experiences. A small unchecked wound can become a life burden. It doesn’t need to be.

Next time you walk through the vegetable aisle and see a nice bunch of long straight carrots, may I ask you to stop and think about the children you know. What are you doing that will help their character and faith grow strong and deep? Not your typical grocery item, but it could make more of a difference than anything you will ever take from the shelf and put in your cart.

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