I recently stopped by Home Depot to purchase some pansies. Upon returning home, I searched how to properly plant them in the fall. Throughout my search,  I came across an article stating that plants need seven things: room to grow, the right temperature, light, oxygen, nutrients, water, and time. Upon further reading it dawned on me that our precious children need many of these same elements.

Room to grow:  Children need their own space and some ownership in their choices throughout the day and during play-time. They need opportunities to make mistakes and learn from them. Every parent has his/her own threshold for what is considered risk-appropriate. That is a personal decision; no advice there. I guess I would encourage you to not smother your child with bubble wrap; do not plow the road; be wise. Blessings and great learning opportunities come from skinned knees.

Right temperature: What is the climate of your home? Is it a place where unconditional love and acceptance are met with clear boundaries and expectations? Is there consistency with discipline where the mood of the parent does not decree that this type of behavior is acceptable one day and not acceptable the next? Are you looking to Jesus to produce a climate-consistent temp in your home?

Light: Is there plenty of outdoor play time? Are your children getting enough vitamin D? I love the childhood song, “This Little Light of Mine.” Is our Light reflecting the love of Jesus in our own hearts?

Oxygen: Just as air is necessary for physical life, the Gospel message is necessary for spiritual life! There is no rebirth apart from Christ, which is the message of the cross unto salvation for those who believe.

Nutrients: There is nothing as nutritious as the soil of God’s love. Ephesians 3:17 which I read to close out our evening on October 27, says, “May your roots go down deep into the soil of God’s marvelous love.” This is our spiritual nourishment (God’s love for us) so that we might give nourishment (unconditional love) to our children.

Water: Hydration is essential for proper functioning of the human body, especially the brain. Jesus says in John 4:14 that, “the water from Him will become a well of water springing up to eternal life.” That well never runs dry!

Time: Children need time to grow and develop, and our time with them is fleeting.

There is a book written to give perspective on this.  It’s entitled 936 Pennies: Discovering the Joy of Intentional Parenting. You have 936 weeks with your child from birth to age 18.  Parents, be patient with your child as he or she is growing, learning, transitioning, maturing, and becoming all God has created him or her to be. Please do not expect your children to “get something” the first time nor even the fifth!  We must remind ourselves often of God’s patience toward us and not expect more of our children. It is wise to be mindful of using our time well – to nurture, train, teach, correct, admonish, encourage, pray for, and love our children into an abundant life in Christ. As the days and weeks go by and the symbolic jar of pennies diminishes, it serves as a reminder of how our time with our children is fleeting.  Psalm 90:12 says, “Teach us (Lord) to number our days, so that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” Pennies taken out of a jar is a tangible way of numbering our days, thus gaining a heart of wisdom.