Crickets sing much louder in the country. Maybe it only seems that way because they aren’t competing with city noises. Yet, county crickets are not only louder singers, they’re more intense, too. As I listen to their song I realize that they’re not just serenading a potential mate, they’re also singing the song of change. They instinctively know that the season will soon be changing.
As I was digging holes this week I learned two more things. The first is that I’m not very good at hole digging. I’ve come to the conclusion that city dirt must be softer than country dirt. I’ve dug holes in the past, but it was a whole lot easier back then. Whenever “then” was. This week became a fierce battle between the rock-hard dirt and my softening stick-to-it-ness.
Oh, the dirt stuck to me. On my legs and arms, on my face, and many places in-between. It even got between my toes. I guess that when I was watering my plantings, the dirt turned into mud and seeped through the mesh on my tennis shoes. At one point I was working on a slope and started mud-skiing down the hill.
I have a talent for performing an ordinary task in an unlikely way.
The reason I was digging holes was because I was planting flowers and bushes. I combined some special mixture with water that helps new plantings take root. I’m hopeful they’ll survive if I keep watering them, talk to them a little bit, and watch over them.
That brings me to the second thing I learned this week. As I was planting my last plant the hot sun was intense. I decided the plant didn’t need full sun, but could surely survive in partial shade. It was then I realized that I’m planting for a different season.
You see, the plantings won’t grow to full height and bloom this summer. No, I’m planting them for next spring and next summer and hopefully for years after that. It’s the same with children.
As the crickets sing and students return to school, it’s good for all of us to remember that what our children learn today are seeds for another season. They’re not only learning facts and numbers and social skills, they’re already growing into the people they will become. Like new plantings, we need to nurture them, to watch over them, and to help them grow with love.
Most important, we need to make sure that along with their school education and their extracuicular activities that they learn about the Lord, too. “Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old, he won’t depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6). Which very simply implies that if we train our children in spiritual truth, they will have the knowledge to hopefully pick the right path. Just as with us, following the Lord is an individual choice. But if we model faith and faithfully pray for them, hopefully our children will choose to follow Jesus no matter what they do in their lives.
But there are many distractions in this world. They’re much louder than country crickets. Some of the holes they dig are much deeper than any I could dig. It’s easy for our children to walk down a dangerous path without even knowing it. It’s easy for us adults, too. It’s easy to fall into a hole and not even realize it.
Apostle Paul speaks to the Colossians about this in chapter two. There were many false teachers who want to lead the Colossian Christians astray with man-made religion, lies, and false wisdom. But Paul urges them to continue in their faith in Christ Jesus. “So then, just as you received Jesus Christ as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him” (Colossians 2:6-7).
Paul encourages the Colossians to be firmly rooted in their faith and to not be swayed by false teachings, no matter how attractive they may seem. He wants them to continue to bloom and grow in their Christian faith.
Don’t we want the same for our children?
If we don’t teach our children about Jesus, the world will teach them not to follow him. The world will fill up their lives with noisy distractions. We might as well dig the holes ourselves. I’ve seen too many young people get stuck in one hole after another because they were not firmly rooted in Jesus. If we want them to lead whole, Christian lives, we have to plant seeds of faith. To model faith in our own lives. To faithfully pray for them and nurture them. We have to be strong and deeply rooted in Jesus.
Now that’s something the crickets could sing about.