There are certain phrases, tag lines, or quotes that you’ll hear in passing that infiltrate your mind causing profound pondering. I don’t exactly remember who said this and the exact way, but to paraphrase two quotes that have caused me to think and rethink are the following:
Think more about the kind of people your home is building than the kind of home your people are creating.
I’m not raising chickens, I’m raising children.
Farming is often times looked down upon as a “leave me alone” kind of job. One that is dirty, grimy, stinky, and simply unattractive. It’s something people do when they are dumb and unskilled. “I’m just a dumb ol’farmer” is a common phrase. At first I was eager to get it all done by myself. Early in the morning, late in the evening I worked to build, plant, and cultivate. But the more I worked in our farmstead, the more lessons were learned about building people instead of growing produce. Rather than work in the farm, I started attempting to work on it. This means including others. And apart from feeding your family, having a garden and some chickens is meant to help train up the next generation. It seems that Jesus knew what he was talking about. I mean, why else would so many of his parables refer to farmers and gardeners?
It may help to see your family and children as a garden to be grown: as seeds to be planted, cultivated, nurtured, and protected for a future return. God did in fact place Adam in a garden and tell him to be fruitful and multiply. Why did God place man in a garden rather than a city, a boat, or a plane? I would argue, that a garden is one of the best training grounds for generational cultural improvement. A garden needs patience, diligence, and faith (not that other endeavors don’t). It needs the proper conditions that will allow for natural growth to occur. It calls for being faithful, not growing to fast, and diligent, not being lazy. It provides ample opportunity for enculturating the next generation to be faithful consistent stewards. Along the way we learn the work of God and learn to delight in him. We see the miracle of life happening right before our eyes while teaching our children, in particular boys, to sweat and experience the difficult task of true hard work: to wake up early, keep at it, and to slowly see small steps of progress. It teaches faithful stewardship in one direction over a prolonged period of time.