Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Look At That Bamboo Grow

Chuck Swindoll, a few months ago, gave a message on parenting based off of the Ephesians 6 scriptures that has really helped me put many things into perspective. The overall theme was that parenting is all about nurturing - we are to supply the environment that our children need to grow... and by now many of you are probably thinking right now, "ummm. duh." But really, to me, that little message totally switched my focus.

As a parent of now 4 children it is really easy for me to slip into the reactive mode instead of attempting to stay proactive. It is also especially easy for me to focus on the temporal rather than the eternal. The whole idea of nurturing sets my sights on the long term rather than the craziness that is ensuing in the here and now. When I was a younger mom and quite naive, I used to see my parenting role more as that of a blacksmith... you apply heat and force to the areas you want to mold. Yeah, that doesn't work... well, let me qualify that - it does work with the naturally very compliant child... but I digress (I will go ahead and say that if you continue to have chilren and a majority of those are boys, the odds of them being those naturally very compliant type is slim to none.)

His message combined the few verses on parenting in Ephesians chapter 6 with the famous parenting verse found in Proverbs, "Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it." (22:6) Swindoll intertwined that verse with the Ephesians passage so that we could further understand the concept of nurturing. He broke down and defined each phrase of the verses, unpacking the Hebrew words and bringing further clarity and guidance to parents.

I will not sit here and rewrite the whole of Chuck's message - that would not do it justice. But I will tell you some solid points that I took away from it...
1. A parent needs to create and cultivate a thirst within their child for that which pleases God.
2. A parent needs to train up a child according to his/her way... the nurturing mother makes a study of her child - adapting the training according to the way her child has been made. Because families have been given a particular child with a particular set of bents... this process takes effort and time.
3. You correct the wrong but you encourage the right - you spend more time

He ended with an illustration about how to grow the supreme grade of bamboo found in Malaysia. The caregiver will plant the seed of this plant and nurture it and fertilize it -- taking great care in applying what it needs everyday for years... with no visible signs of growth. This goes on for 4 years... constant care with no physical signs of fruits to their labor. Until year five. That plant will grow 90 feet in 30 days. Boom. Just like that. Ninety feet in no time flat. Kids are so much like that - you poor your efforts, your life itself into those children with sometimes no visible results. You cry out, wondering if they will ever "get. it." and then boom. One day you look at them and you are amazed - you are seeing the fruits of your labor.

Why do I bring this up now? Two of my kids turn a year older this week - I now have an 8 year old and a 4 year old. Children that I have poured so much effort into and children that have shown me so much resistance and there were many times that I wondered if they would ever see the right path. And boom. They are sweet boys that have shown me that my efforts and God's faithfulness is there whether I feel it, see it, recognize it or not.

So happy birthday to my sweet kids. I know I'm biased but I feel that I have reason to be proud of them. :)

Go listen to that broadcast from Chuck Swindoll, it's not too late... Go to and out of the Broadcast Libraries choose May 11-13, 2009 "Secrets of a Nurturing Home."

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