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My green thumb talents are limited to growing weeds in the springtime. Last fall, longing for some color in my yard to brighten winter days ahead, I bought a flat of pansies. A plastic tag stuck into their dirt promised red blooms from every little sprout.
With the excitement of a first-time gardener, I carefully moved the tiny pansy plants with their clumps of dark earth to prominent places around my home. Some went into flower pots to adorn the deck, some occupied a large planter on the front porch, and a few came to rest in the ground as a border near my backdoor.
The same sun shone on them all; rain that fell in the front yard also watered the backyard. Not one plant died! But, while some pansies bloomed a deep, velvety red, others have yet to produce even a hint of color.
I wondered what I’d done wrong. Even though I’d given the same kind and amount of care to each tiny plant, some fulfilled my expectations while others did not.
As I reflect on my half-successful flower gardening, I’ve decided that raising children is much like my green thumb experience. Some children will meet expectations of them; some will not. Children raised by the same parents have a good chance of being different from their siblings. Some will have patient, even-tempered personalities; others will perhaps embrace a more scheming attitude. While some children from the same family become responsive and loving individuals, others remain introverted, spearing insecure.
Investing care and time in our children reminds me of the farmer in Jesus’ parable who sows seed, some of it producing a good crop, but some of the seed falling where desired growth was difficult (Matthew 13:3-9, NIV).
Children are God’s miraculous gifts. In children He gives us gold mines. Refined ore from gold mines ultimately become different things—watches, rings, necklaces—but, in whatever form, these things are still gold. When we tend our child-gold-mines, they, too, become different things. But they’re still our children.
Although my two children grew up in the same family, they’re as different as baked
potatoes and French fries.
My older child was as open as the books I read to her, sharing her hopes, dreams, tears, and fears. The few times she hurt too badly to share, I’d wait patiently until she’d approach me with her burden. Our talks were more her talking and me listening, giving her a sounding board for her frustrations and problems.
We didn’t always find solutions, but the time spent together searching for them served its good purpose for us both. She shared everything with me; well, not everything, I know, but she gave enough of herself so that I might be her friend.
On the other hand, my second child took his first steps pulling against the helping hand I offered. He wrapped himself with unconcern; whether read or pretended, I can only guess. He stayed on the outer rim of family togetherness, allowing me only an occasional glimpse of himself.
As my son burst into his teenage years, family traditions paled in the glow of the independence his driver’s license afforded him. I watched him rush to become a free spirit, straining at every restriction. He considered any advice as interference. When he had frustrations, he never told me: he didn’t reveal his thoughts. If his high school had burned, I would’ve had to learn about it from the newspaper!
I continue hoping for blooms in the border near my backdoor…or well, I’ll try my luck with pansies again in the fall.
You know, we can keep on trying with our children, too; maybe work some on ourselves as well. After all, aren’t we all children? Some of us just grow up and bloom.
Happy Mother's Day!
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Which unique trait makes you different from your siblings (if you have them)?
One winner will be chosen by random draw one week (7 days) from postdate. Prize: (1) Kindle copy of Promise Me by Jo Huddleston. Minimum of 5 comments required to validate contest.
To discover more about Promise Me, read on!
About the Book:
In 1960, civil discord in Vietnam fills the news. After his college graduation, Patrick Fitzgerald plans to join his daddy’s South Carolina accounting firm. But Uncle Sam may have another position in mind for Patrick—in the U.S. Army. His family’s affluence would be no match for the persuasion of the military draft.
Adriana Montagna’s papá ekes out a living as a coal miner in the mountains of West Virginia. Can a lasting relationship form with Patrick, or will his wealth become a barrier between them?
Meanwhile, the fiber of America’s unity stands on the precipice, while its youth fight a no-win battle on foreign soil. What good can a young couple hope for at such a time as this?
August 1960 - Morgantown, West Virginia
“Good night, Chet. Good night, David. And good night for NBC News.” The program signed off with the Texaco Gasoline red star logo across the screen.
In Dean Loreen Fletcher’s apartment, Patrick Fitzgerald sat closest to the television when NBC’s Huntley-Brinkley Report ended. He stepped to the floor-standing console and turned off the television. He took his time returning to sit on the sofa beside Adriana Montagna. A somber silence settled over the living room and its six occupants, interrupted only by the humming window air conditioner.
Patrick scooted to the front edge of the sofa cushion and rested his forearms on his legs. “I don’t want my first job after graduation to be in Vietnam.”
No one remarked and he continued. “The situation over there worries me. Now Washington announces we’re sending 3,500 soldiers to South Vietnam to help them fight against the communist North Vietnamese. When I graduate from college in December, I hope their mess over there has cooled down some.”
Adriana laid her hand on his back. “Patrick, hush. We don’t want to think about you going overseas.”
About the Author:
Jo Huddleston is an Amazon Bestselling author of books, articles, and short stories. Novels in her West Virginia Mountains series and her Caney Creek series are sweet Southern historical romances. Her novels are endorsed by Amanda Cabot, Debra Lynn Collins, Cara Lynn James, Sharlene MacLaren, and Ann Tatlock. The redeeming story of God’s pursuing love is the foundation of her novels, and in them you will find inspiration, hope, and gentle stories that are intriguing and entertaining. Jo is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and the Literary Hall of Fame at Lincoln Memorial University (TN).