Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Children's growth

I love this blog entry by Emily: Busy. She's talking about her crops, but her final statement struck me as also applying to parenting.

You can’t do their growing for them, but you can keep ‘em hydrated and offer encouragement while they work.

I've often thought of parenting that way. You provide the environment, the light and water and space the kids need, and they do the growing. They have all within themselves already to become who they're going to be. The parent's job is to provide the proper environment and encouragement to help them get there more fully.

As parents, we may think (because we were similar seedlings in days gone past) that we can predict how they're going to grow, but it turns out we can't. Will they shoot out this leaf first, or this other one? Will they flower when all the other ones flower, or do it on their own time? No one can tell, except the divine spark that gave them life in the first place.

After all, you can't sit there and *make* a plant grow. I'm just imagining that—crouching next to a patch of dirt and pushing in the air saying, Grow! How absurd. You could do that all day and night, and not one shoot would break the ground because of it. Generally, we plant, we water, then we go away for a while. We come back later and rejoice at the blush of green coloring the earth, knowing that all the potential of a wide harvest is represented in that little bit of promise.

Children take more interaction, more direct caring, so maybe we get the idea somewhere that we're causing the growth rather than witnessing it. We think we're responsible for how the child thinks and feels and dreams and hopes. But there comes a moment I believe in every healthy parent/child relationship, sometimes sooner than the parent wants, when the parent has to step back and let the child be.

*Sigh.* Suddenly the plant that grew so close to home and under your sheltering care wants to walk around by itself. It wants to go places you've never been, accumulate memories that don't involve you, have its own life.

And the parent is then challenged to do her own growing. To change from thinking of the child as dependent and in progress to fully formed and self-determining.

I'm finding myself more and more praying for my children as fully realized ideas of the divine Father-Mother. I think less about their day-to-day details and decisions and more about the divine will of Love that is in action in their lives. I place them in His well-tended garden, knowing that now it's His job to provide the environment for growth.

My loving admiration follows them, and I trust that this is Spirit's natural way.


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