Tree huggers....how many do you have in your life? There's never enough of them in my opinion. We currently have 6 that happen to be very skilled as far as huggers go. Truthfully, I'd almost label them as "advanced" in their practice, as huggers. I have found that even if they don't emphatically agree with their "tree's" advice, or decision, they will still end their day with a hug . . .given or taken. The tree of course, is us, the parents. And there are a wide variety of trees, as you have quickly realized when you plunged into the world of parenting. This becomes even more evident as the children become toddlers, and even more apparent in the teenage years!
We as trees are all trying to do our very best, with our own natural strengths and weaknesses . . .to stand tall, and sturdy, firm, and yet lovingly. The most difficult part of being a tree for myself is the consistency part . . .my bark is rather diverse and I carry leaves of all different hues. It's sometimes difficult to stand tall and hold onto my branches when the big winds blow (gale force at times). And it's difficult to remember at times, that I don't need to resemble the trees growing next to me.
As parents, it is so easy to become a part of this world . . .and if we do, eventually our parenting will reflect it. As Christians, we are called to do exactly the opposite. We should be in that constant struggle of teaching our children what life is all about, what our choices should reflect, what true selfless love is (agape), and that focusing on the right things will not always get you the popularity seat (and that's okay). It's okay to teach your girls not to dress provocatively, regardless of modern trends. . .teaching them that our bodies are sacred and beautiful, in the long run, will benefit them more, and will even influence who they allow into their lives when dating. It's okay to discourage your teenagers from watching everything that comes out on the big screen (or small screen), and perhaps modeling this can be even more powerful. The list can go on and on, but really it comes down to taking parenting seriously. It is THE most important job that God has given us. The responsibility is not just to keep them alive until they turn 18. Parenting children today needs to be so intentional in practice. And though each of our children has their own mind, thoughts, opinions, and choices . . .and even though they will fall at times, it is still our job to teach them right from wrong, confidently. Modeling is so powerful. They watch us everyday in our choices . . .how we spend our time and money, who we surround ourselves with, what we prioritize, and who we turn to for help or gratitude. Parents, find your support system and stand tall!
Dear Lord Jesus, please grant me the grace to follow your beautiful example when you walked on this earth. Strengthen my trunk and deepen my roots so that they may grow deep in rich soil, and my branches can produce beautiful fruit. Help me to stand tall in big winds, and be an example for trees around me. And please continue to surround me with a host of strong trees that will offer support when I need it most. Thank you Lord for your mercy. Amen.