Teachers are Seed Planters
As I glanced over at my garden this morning, something caught my eye. I could see what appeared to be a flower blooming next to the arbor. I thought for certain I was mistaken, since I had not planted anything in that spot this year or last year. I went over to investigate. To my surprise, a healthy, flowering plant was indeed growing there. For several years, I had tried to grow this very flower in that very spot. Each time that I planted the seeds, I had fanciful thoughts of a flowering vine climbing the arbor, like a picture in a magazine or a beautiful painting of a summer garden. Unfortunately, the plants never grew, and I eventually gave up. Seeing the plant growing there left me in awe. Those seeds must have been sitting dormant in the ground for years.
Thinking about those seeds and that flowering plant brought to mind my children. As a mother and teacher to my children, I am constantly planting seeds. Each word that I say, action that I take, and lesson that I attempt to teach, plants a seed in their minds. Just like that flower, sometimes the seeds stay dormant for a long time. There have been times when my kids surprised me with something they said or did. Where and when did they learn that, I wonder. Then, upon more reflection, I realized that it was something I had taught them. I planted that seed. Sometimes this is wonderfully reassuring, but other times, it is painfully eye-opening and even gut-wrenching. A parent’s slip of the tongue, repeated out of context by a child, is not a good thing nor is an imitated bad habit. It is in those instances that the enormity of my responsibility is crystal clear. I must endeavor to plant positive, life-affirming seeds.
Sometimes, we never see the results of the seeds that we plant. We can lose confidence in our importance and falsely believe that our efforts are not having an impact on our children. This is when we have to be especially careful. It is so effortless to slip and neglect our responsibilities when we are feeling down on ourselves. It is easy to give up and inadvertently plant negative seeds. Take heart. Your efforts are not in vain and your importance will not be forgotten. Take your fears and doubts to the Lord in prayer. Whether or not we ever get to see the results of the seeds that we plant is not the point. Sure, it is rewarding and reassuring when our kids demonstrate something positive that we taught them. But, that must not be our motivation, for it will lead us to prideful behavior and undue pressure on our children. As parents, as teachers, we are tasked to plant seeds and plant them wisely. The next time you see a random flower growing, may you remember your task as a seed planter and thank the Lord for giving you that opportunity.
Heidi Kinney is a freelance writer and editor. Her background includes professional teaching in the area of mathematics, as well as writing and editing for several educational publishers. She has been homeschooling her children since 2007. She shares homeschool resources and lessons on her website, SharedLessons.org.