While headed to the park yesterday, my youngest son asked me a question that ended up being a life lesson. Have you ever had those?
Youngest: "Mom, can weeds grow into cars?"
Me: "What do you mean, sweetheart?"
Youngest: "You know, like when I saw a weed growing through a car on TV. Can that happen?"
Me: (Secretly smiling b/c he asked about the reality of things on TV!) "Yes, it can; especially if the car has been sitting in a pasture for a long time. The weeds can take over if we don't keep them under control."
Youngest: "Oh, OK. So, is that why we have to garden all the time? To keep the weeds out?"
Me: "Yes, we must be constant gardeners."
Youngest: "What do you mean?"
Me: "Well, sweetheart, we must always be vigilant in the garden. If we worked really hard one week to keep out all the weeds, but didn't work as hard the next three weeks weeds would be everywhere. We would have wasted our time and effort. If we are constant gardeners then we can keep most of the weeds out."
Youngest: "Oh. I see."
Epiphany! Here's the life lesson, hold on!
Me: "Just like in the garden, we must be constant gardeners in our lives and in the lives of others. Moms and Dads are constantly gardening their children. We make sure you get all the good things you need and teach you how to keep the weeds out of your life - you know, the bad things. Just like a gardener, we lay your foundation, feed you with morals and values, and watch your grow into a well-rounded and beautiful person. As you get older, you get to be your own gardener or even someone else's gardener. We all have to work hard to make sure the ones we love are growing strong and well. And, when there are weeds, we have to help get rid of them."
Youngest: "That makes a lot of sense, Mom. So, weeds can grow in cars and in us. But, it's not hard to get rid of them; we may just need a little help at times."