We talk a lot about gardening in this house. As much as we talk about it, you’d think we’d actually know what we are doing when it comes to gardening or at least have one! Not yet, this year we plan to get a garden set up at our new house and I can’t wait. Not only for the good food right outside our door but also all the teaching possibilities for the kids!
We talk about gardening in different ways because it paints a clear picture. I guess you’d consider us health nuts and we’re trying to teach our kids what good food and not so good food is. To do this we tell them they need to grow a good garden in their tummy in order to stay healthy. Things that grow in a garden, fruit and veggies, plant good seeds in your tummy so those are the things you want to eat a lot of. Things that don’t grow in a garden, your tummy won’t like so eat less of it in order to keep all the plants in your tummy strong and nourished. Who knows what is going on in their mind or what they’re actually picturing when we talk about this. But they ask us all the time if something grows a garden in their tummy and we see that it influences what they eat or don’t eat so I guess it’s working!
We also talk about the Fruit of the Spirit and seeds as Jesus did in the Bible- creating healthy soil in our heart by planting good seeds and not letting bad seeds in (Luke 8:1-15). We tell them when they see something that isn’t good on TV or a character has bad behavior in a book we are reading, it can plant bad seeds in our heart, like weeds in a garden. If we have too many weeds, our plants can die and it can’t bear good fruit like God intended (Matthew 7:17-18). But if we fill our hearts with good seeds, reading our Bible and spending time with God by praying, we will have a healthy garden.
They understand this concept as well and tell us all the time that a certain book or something they see on TV or something they witness has “bad seeds”. Faith just yesterday told me that she didn’t want to read a book we got from the library because there was a kid bullying another kid and she was afraid that it would plant bad seeds in her heart.
My point? We have such great 4 year olds that already have wisdom and discernment DOWN thus our parenting is done!
Not at all, my point is that our children understand this simple concept that we, as adults, do not. My point is that I can so carefully describe this to our kids, that I can remind them to guard their hearts (Proverbs 4:23) but I can’t seem to do the same or I think this doesn’t apply to me because I’m a “grown up”.
Sure I can tell them that chocolate doesn’t grow in their tummy so they can’t have it and then hide in the pantry with a mouth full of chocolate myself. That’s just part of being a mom, if you want to ignore the whole hypocrisy point of course, but in this example, chocolate is medicine so I’m thinking I’m exempt.
But your heart is way more important than a piece of chocolate. Jesus said,
“Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit. You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of. A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him. But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.” – Matthew 12:33-37
So if one day I will be judged by what comes out of my mouth, and my mouth speaks what my heart is full of, I better be sure to have a good garden in my heart right? But why do I think that the bad and good seeds don’t apply to me sometimes? Why do I think I can watch a simple guilty pleasure show and it not affect my heart? Why do I think I can engage or be a part of negativity or gossip and it not affect me? I don’t think I’m being extreme by saying we need to be counter culture about this, it’s THAT important. We need to guard our hearts just like we tell our kids to, just like Jesus told us to. What’s so amazing is that God gave us His word to teach us and protect us, no matter what age or stage we’re in. It’s all relevant, always has been and always will be.