You water, and wait, water and wait, as your child anxiously checks it every day. Sometimes they become impatient and you may have to stop them from digging in the dirt to see whether the beans are starting to sprout at all.
As parents, we often do the same thing while raising our kids. We spend years planting seeds of good stuff–good examples, good people, good experiences, good reading, valuable time–into our children’s hearts. We water with love, encouragement and discipline. Then we get impatient when we don’t immediately see little sprouts of noble character peeking through their life-soil.
So what do we do? We start to dig up the soil. We ask lots of questions and “dig around in the dirt”, trying to pull explanations, thoughts, and motives out of them, all the time wondering,when are the sprouts gonna come up? I’ve been pouring into their lives for a long time, why are they not showing spectacular results?
I’ve learned, after 26 years of parenting, that stirring up the soil does not help the sprout grow. Sometimes when we ask and probe, we go a little overboard because we want to see inside our kid’s hearts. We want to know what they are thinking about every little thing.
If we wait patiently, the sprouts will show in their own good time. Sure, it may take several years. In fact, you may wonder when they are teenagers if you will ever see any sprouts.
Your job is to never stop watering. Someday, when you are walking by the paper cup, it will be there. A timid green sprout will pop through the soil of your child’s heart: a wise choice, a kind word, a thoughtful gesture, a grateful spirit.
And you will smile. It’s amazing how one little bean sprout can make your day.