Sunday, August 29, 2010

Kids and Weeds

I've always heard the phrase, "My (your, his, her) kids are growing like weeds." I never really thought about it too much other than the usual, "Yeah, it seems they grow up so fast." Well, they do. They really grow up fast and you don't have nearly the time with them that you thought you might have.

Anyway, I have been thinking about that phrase a lot in the past week. You see, with DH overseas since mid-May, and all three boys participated on swim team this year in addition to all our usual stuff, well, the weeds have kinda taken over. I knew that I would not have time to tend to a vegetable garden like we usually do, so we just didn't plant one. There are weeds there. Like a jungle of weeds. Taller than me. It's the same in the flower beds that surround 1/2 the house. Weeds choking out all my beautiful plants and bushes. And, I'm ashamed to say, weeds choking out the playground equipment. We have one of those nice cedar playgrounds (we went all out expecting to have lots of kids ourselves and lots of kid's friends playing on it). We put it in when we moved in four years ago and put down freshly chipped mulch. Well, in four years, the mulch has composted beautifully into this dark rich soil with tons of nutrients for growing... weeds. To be fair, I did pull weeds for two hours one day in June so the boys could play out there. However, they came right back. And I didn't pull them... and they grew... and they spread.

So a week ago last Saturday, DH, my 3 sons and I go out to pull weeds. The boys all did really, REALLY, well with weed pulling. They took swing breaks starting when we finally had the swings free but they only ever stopped for 5 or 10 minutes at a time. DH and I worked almost non-stop. It was rough. It took almost 5 hours. When we were finished, we could hardly stand upright having been bent over for so long. Anyway, to give you an idea... we let the weed piles set out for several days to dry up some before we bagged them. On Thursday (still sore from pulling weeds, mind you) the boys and I went outside to bag them. Six HUGE garden and lawn trash bags later... we had all the weeds from the flower beds. We didn't even touch the weed piles from the playground yet. And might I say, I had anticipated the hard work and the being tired afterwards. I even anticipated being sore. But I had no idea just how sore I was going to be. The back of my left leg was in constant aching pain for almost a full week. It hurt every time I moved and whenever I was sitting still... even laying down. It affected every part of every activity, of every day. I couldn't believe how sore I was (DH was too). I mean, serious pain. I was more surprised than anything about how badly I hurt.

So I've been thinking about that phrase, "kids growing like weeds." I've often heard it said, "Put a lot of time in with them when they are younger and it will go a little easier when they are older." Like weeds. Pull a few little ones here and there when they spring up and you won't have to kill yourself to get it weeded later. Work with your kids consistently, correct what needs correcting and strengthen their good traits. I realize this was a long post for such a short point. But it rings true. One more point: I got to thinking about this analogy and what really hit home for me is how much I hurt, and for how long... How much do families hurt when they try to clean up the mess of an undisciplined son or daughter? And I don't mean spanking... I mean discipleship. Raising and training. How long does the pain of a broken family last? How does it affect every aspect of their days? These thoughts have been swirling around all week. I'm just glad I learned this lesson with weeds and not with my kids.

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