Thank you for loving my children

Thank You For Loving My Children

Dear friend,

In case I haven’t said so before, I wanted to thank you for loving my children. Maybe you don’t think it’s a big deal, but I want you to know it means the world.

Thank you for looking them in the eye and greeting them by name. You are teaching them they are valuable.

Thank you for asking them questions about their lives and waiting patiently for their stumbled replies. You are teaching them the currency of conversation.

Thank you for entering their imaginary worlds and helping find the pet unicorn a snack. Thank you for reading to them, even though they were sticky and stinky. Thank you for for pretending you couldn’t see them under the kitchen table when they hid in the same place for the tenth time playing hide-and-go-seek. You are teaching them that that they are wanted. You are showing them the value of play.

Thank you for that time you played rough-and-tumble T-ball with them. Thank you for asking about their first day of school. Thank you for reminding them to say thank you when I’m too weary to remind them again. Thank you for telling them your own childhood story to distract them from their tears.

Thank you for being a safe adult, another role model in their “village”. Your presence in their life is more valuable than you know. They soak up your laughter, your kindness, your pleases-and-thank-yous.

We take our children to church, but you are the church to our children. You are one of the teaching aides God has put into their life, and they love you.

Thank you for loving my children, and in doing so, for loving me.

Corny reflections

This is our third summer growing vegetables. Last week I harvested garlic, this morning I picked our first zucchinis, and as I look out on my veggie patch I see a veritable forest of tomato plants which will yield a harvest FAR beyond our ability to consume them. But no corn. Despite the fact that we love corn, and would gladly eat as much as we could grow. there is no corn.

The reason for this is that our past two years of corn-growing have been abject failures. As it turns out, corn growing is tricky business: you need a certain number of days all above a certain temperature. The soil needs to be not only warm, but also well-aired and rich in nitrogen. We thought we had the perfect soil – but in the first year our soil spent 3 months growing and only reached 3ft in height before being toppled by an early autumn wind storm. No crop.

The following year we started earlier, read more… and the initial growth was better. But after 4 months again we had 3-4 feet stalks with TINY corn heads. We told Teg they were “baby corns” (as if we’d grown them that way on purpose), and ate the whole lot as a sprinkling on one summer salad. Pathetic.

Meanwhile, on the way to J’s work we pass corn field after corn field which rapidly shoot their way towards the standard 8-and-a-half feet corn height. “Wow,” we think, “farmers are SO much more impressive than we give them credit for.”

Here’s one of the things that the farmers have got right though: they know that corn likes company. Maize needs mates. You cannot grow just one stalk of corn, or even just 6 or 8. You need a minimum of a 5 by 5 square of it (not a long row, mind you – it needs a CLUMP for cross-pollination).

Which makes me think: Christians are a lot more like corn than zucchini. Christians who think they can “go it alone” and have fantastic growth all by themselves, as long as they give themselves the right kind of “soil” (teaching input, spiritual disciplines etc)… may well land up looking like the corn in our garden: stunted growth, minimal fruit, susceptible to the first big winds of the season. To really thrive, you need to be with other corn – cross-pollinating, sharing the sun, working the soil, growing tall together.