By Boyd Chitwood, Ed. D.,
A story about growing – plants and children – by God's design.
A family once was given a gift by a kind and powerful neighbor. He told them that at night, as they slept, he had planted for them a garden. If they cared for it well, it would produce for them both abundant food and astonishing beauty. What the family saw was a plot of ground with beautifully tilled, rich loam, and the signs of seeds having been freshly planted.
The father and mother resolved to care for it well; they were very grateful. The son asked if he might have a small portion of the garden to care for and, though they weren't sure he was ready for the responsibility, they gave him a small corner.
They knew plants needed food and water, but didn't know much else. The boy knew even less, so he resolved to get to know each of his plants very well, wanting to see them grow into all they were meant to be.
The father and mother watered and fertilized, and began to see growth. They saw leafy greens and grassy shoots and were overjoyed. The boy followed their lead, but also had been looking at every garden he could find, along with all the produce at the grocery store, and all the plants at the nursery. He began to recognize some of his plants as they grew. After awhile, though worried because his father and mother weren't doing it, he began to prune and weed what he knew wasn't true to the plants which were growing. He also varied his watering and fertilizing based on the growth he saw, and he picked insects off the growing plants. He tied up and supported some plants, and redirected others.
The father and mother continued to see a profusion of growth – the weather was warm, and they fed and watered the garden with dedication. More and more things grew, though they weren't sure they could recognize much of it.
In just a couple of months, both parts of the garden had grown much. The boys corner wasn't as high or as green, but his had begun to bear fruit and vegetables which he knew were good to eat. As they ripened, he picked them and more grew. He also saw astoundingly beautiful flowers begin to blossom, sharing their sweet fragrance with all who came by.
The larger garden of the father and mother was a mass of vegetable plant stalks and grass and leaves with large holes eaten out of them and a few scrawny vegetables and flower buds here and there. They watered and fertilized all the more, but were very discouraged.
The kind neighbor walked by one day and remarked on the mass of foliage in the garden. He said they must have worked with vigor and dedication. Perhaps they could come to his garden and look around a bit.
Then he saw the boy's corner and broke into a brilliant smile. "Now this," he said, "is the garden grown up into the bounty and beauty I had in mind when I planted it. Well done!"
Education according to God's glorious design is about hard work, but not just about watering and fertilizing. Growth conformed to the Lord's plan for each of our children is the standard of success. With pruning and training, along with weeding and feeding and watering, we pursue the highest good for our children and the greatest glory for our God.