I enjoy landscaping. Hardscapes, softscapes, you name it. There’s something about starting with a plain or rough-looking patch of ground, envisioning the value a few plants or a stone wall might add, and then executing it. I love the moment where you turn around and see the fruit of your labor. It’s a good feeling.
I was installing a landscape not too long ago when I encountered a familiar experience. I had dug a hole for a plant and upon placing the plant in the hole, realized the hole wasn’t quite deep enough. The top of the root ball was protruding a few inches above ground level.
In landscaping, this is not a good thing. If the root ball is too high, the plant can get parched too easily. It may have trouble taking root. It can stress the plant out and cause its growth to be stunted. Some plants will overcome this in a season or two. But other plants never do. And in a weakened state, it’s easier for them to succumb to disease or fungus.
I had a choice. I could lift the plant back out and go through the trouble of digging the whole out a few more inches, which is kind of a pain. Or I could just cover the plant up with topsoil, water it in, and hope for the best.
There is a discipleship parallel here in how we raise our kids.
Spiritually speaking, it’s not always easy to dig a deep enough hole. Especially if the soil is rocky. Investing in our children, particularly in the early stages of adolescence, can be challenging. We can be tempted to get a “good-enough” hole dug, throw some dirt on top, and hope for the best. We forego the tough work of discipleship today hoping and praying that our children turn out OK in the future.
Don’t give in to this mindset. It’s a crummy way to raise both plants and children.
While we have to ultimately trust in the Spirit’s role in making our children into the Christ-followers they will ultimately be, we must be relentless in our investment in our children. Don’t let up. Empower your wife to take the same approach. The spiritual investment you make today is much more likely to pay off in the future if you give it your all.
There aren’t any shortcuts in discipleship. Or landscaping for that matter.