04 July 2009

Discovering Your Child's Design, Part 5

After "analyzing" the metaphor or model of parents as architects, Ralph Mattson and Thom Black, the authors of Discovering Your Child's Design (a thought-provoking-for-me book I recently finished reading), introduce a different model in one of the last chapters, "Looking Toward Harvest," of their book. (pp. 194-197)

"...Consider the image of parents as farmers. The farmer does not treat peaches like apples, nor cauliflower like pole beans. True, they all need the same basics -- sunlight, good soil, fertilizer, water and weeding. But they need differing degrees of each ingredient and different proportions of minerals in the fertilizer.

Though there is a basic collectioon of tools and machines used for all these crops, there are particular tools used ony on certain crops. Above all, the farmer remains aware that he only nurtures what God is creating each day as the crops germinate, grow, flower and eventually bear fruit. The farmer is very active, but at the same time he is also the observer of what God is doing. He is in partnership with God.

The idea of partnership in farming is a strong one. We realized that not much will happen if the farmer doesn't throw himself wholeheartedly into bringing crops to fruition. That's his responsiblity, and all his efforts lead to a productive harvest. But it is equally true that nothing happens at all if God doesn't do His part. The farmer works with an absolute dependance on God to provide sun and rain. Even the farmer who does not believe in God knows, too well, the limitation of his powers.

The active farmer wants pears to be pears, spinach to be spinach, avocados to be avocados, and peas to be peas. He rejoices in the identity of what is planted and does everything to nurture each crop according to its own nature. How silly it would be if a farmer with a magnificent apple orchard decided that he wanted pears instead. He could experiment with different fertilizers, prune differently, change the amount of water or put different lables on teh trees, but all he is going to get are apples. Taken to the expreme, this farmer's misguided efforts could even destory the conditioon in which apples flourish, and he could end up with trees that bear neither pears nor apples. All his hard work would be for nothing.

Whilel farmers are highly active in the nurturing of their crops, they must also learn to yield to circumstances over which they have no control. In the full knoledge of god's splendid grace, they must sometimes face the inexplicable. They watch as seeds that were carefully planted with excitement and hope are washed away by floods. They see a promising, vigorous crop destroyed slowly and surely by drought. During many of these times, all they can do is passivley observe....

God invented parenthood. It was His idea that new personalities be brought into being through our participation as parents. We are engaged to a God who determned that children be conceived in the midst of passion. It should not surprise us to realie that, with more intensity than we can ever know, God's passion for us presses us from all sides. He is for us. He is for each of our children. He is champion of their lives, their years, their health, their calling, their eternal destiny...

It may be your purpose to help your child see the nature of God. But if you look closely enough, don't be surprised if you soon find that y our are seeing God through the nature of your child...."

Excerpt from the book Discovering Your Child's Design by Ralph Mattson and Thom Black.

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