Trust The Children

Monday, July 07, 2008

Harvest People

If businesses pay consultants to give them encouragement, guidance and remind them to keep on keeping on, when they are doing things right, where to educators go, especially home schoolers, for the same kind of a shot in the arm?

Cyndy and I have been married 33 years. June 13th actually was our 33rd anniversary. It is 32 years since we had our first child and 28 years since we decided to home school. Looking back, it is clear that the early years of our family, were like spring years, where fields were being plowed and seeds being planted. One good decision we made during that time, was not to think that we had all the answers or that our friends who were in the same age bracket had them either.

The people in our lives who had the answers were the ones in the harvest phase of their lives, the harvest people. They didn't guess about which seeds flourished and which did not. While many of our peers, who also had young children, were full of "I think" or "It's my opinion that..." or "When I was growing up...", the harvest people in our lives, spoke with an uncommon and mostly humble authority. In essence they said, "We did this, and this is what we harvested. We didn't to this and this is what we harvested." There were times when the harvest people would look you right in the eye and with a more special earnestness say "Whatever you do, don't do this..." or "Be sure that you do this...". The eyes and earnestness of their expression was riveting. I am thankful that more often than not, Cyndy and I measured the theories of the "spring and summer" people we knew by the "results" experienced and shared by the "harvest people" in our lives. Their ideas and experience helped us make our personal decisions about which seeds to plant back in the "spring and summer" days, how often to water or weed and when to leave the garden alone or when to start over.

Now we find ourselves in a most peculiar situation. Cyndy and I are "harvest people" ourselves, but because of the size of our family (11 kids) we are still cultivating our garden just like "spring and summer" people. Most acquaintances our age have long since left the fields around their own homes, to watch the far flung fields being cultivated by their children. To be sure, we are watching our older children work their own fields, make their own planting choices, weeding choices and nurturing choices. We observe the seeds they are planting with interest and sometimes concern. Because of a lifetime of sowing seeds of our own, we know for ourselves that some seeds will bear wonderful, pleasing and satisfying fruit. We also know that some seeds will most likely turn into unpleasant fruit and it concerns us.

Isn't it odd, but predictable, that many of the seeds we choose to plant, almost without thinking or considering, are the seeds handed to us by our own parents as we grew up. Sometimes the seeds bearing bitter fruit in our own lives, find themselves in our gardens and we can't figure out why or what to do about it? Likewise, how odd but predictable it is, that those around us, who are "spring and summer" people, look often to themselves and unearned wisdom, instead of the harvest people in their lives whose results and wisdom bought at a price could encourage a more pleasing harvest? Natural I guess. But sometimes unnecessary.

However, make no mistake about it. It is just as Cyndy said as we finished our walk this morning,"Honey, we are harvesting now, the seeds we have planted over a lifetime." Choices we made under the guidance of the harvest people in our lives, seeds we planted and cultivated over a lifetime of choices, eventually bear fruit. Others can talk, but the harvest people can look at the seeds and know the fruit even before the planting happens. The fruit IS the evidence of the seed. For good and for bad, the fruit is the evidence of the seeds chosen. And with this comes a warning: seeds are very small things, in comparison to the fruit they become. We were told that back then, but now I get it. A lifetime of small choices, small seeds, and the next thing you know, there are these large plants, even trees and sometimes weeds in your garden and you wonder where it all came from and what to do now? Hopefully, what you do is enjoy. And you will, by choosing over a lifetime, the right, small seeds throughout the planting and nurturing season.

We have always been thankful for the harvest people in our lives. When we were younger and only had a few plants to care for, and now even more that we are older harvest people ourselves, with many more plants to nurture, I thank God for sending to us harvest people. Reaching out and listening to them was another good, small choice we are going to continue to make.

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