Nov 29, 2012

My kids are like a rose bush and a fern...

Do you have more than one child?  I do.  I have two. 

I am glad I only have two. {I am pretty sure that having another one would only offer more evidence that I am a dismal failure as a parent, and I don't need that.}

Something that I have been reflecting on recently is this verse: "Your wife will be like a fruitful grapevine, flourishing within your home. Your children will be like vigorous young olive trees as they sit around your table." Psalm 128:3 (NLT)

I am fruitful, it is only by God's design that we didn't end up with a whole van-full of children.  My children are like plants, young olive trees (or as some translations say, olive shoots). But wait, I don't know anything about olive trees... except that they are oily and extremely messy (the latter description fits my kids to a tee).

It is good to compare children to plants.  You prune them, you train them, you enjoy them, they are off-shoots of your family.  It totally makes sense. If you dig a little deeper into this idea, you might even find a deeper truth.

You are God's Masterpiece.  Your kids are God's Masterpieces.  Each person on the planet was carefully crafted by God, for His purpose and glory.   A Masterpiece is a one-of-a-kind, unique and significant creation.  Every one of God's creations are unique.  Every tree, every rock, every animal is simply unique and different. 

One of the ways my husband and I practice excellence as parents is to intentionally parent each of our children accord to their individual strengths and weaknesses.  We do this in a couple different ways.

1. We watch, interact with and observe each child to understand WHO they are, because they are NOT the same.  This may require time and energy.  You may have to play games with them, observe them with their friends, watch them interact with other adults and talk with their teachers to get a full picture. (For example, my girl, who is loud and vocal at home, is quiet and reserved at school. I didn't know that until she was in first grade and the teacher made an off hand comment about my daughter being so calm and mild.)

I am sure, as a parent, you are very aware that your children are all different, so, why in the world would you try to parent them all the same?  There is a book called "The Five Love Languages".  It's one of those books that has versions for teens, children, pets, plants, (I jest, but you get the idea).  In the book it talks about how each of us receives love differently.  In the same way, each child experiences childhood differently.  Their perspective totally depends on their personality.  

I don't have any olive trees. I am pretty sure I have a rose bush and a fern. My little rose bush is very pretty at first glance, she is a pretty resilient plant , but when she gets frustrated she is PRICKLY.  My little fern is very sensitive to his environment.  He flourishes in the right conditions, but will wilt without the right amount of verbal praise.  Like plants in a garden, kids need different conditions to flourish.

This is why you can have a family with 4 children and have 3 turn out successfully and one become a rebel without a cause.  Parents will sometimes throw their hands up and exclaim, "I don't know why this happened, I parented them all the same!"  Which is probably why it happened.  They were parented all the same. 

2. We find and foster character and skill strengths - A part of observing our children in many different settings, is to understand what makes them "tick", what they are naturally good at, what they are passionate about.  For example, my son has been "stomp clapping" through my raised foundation home since he was 4.  By 8-years-old I had him in guitar and drum practice.  He is amazing.  A natural.  As a mom, I want my children to be able to express their passions, and their natural strengths.  Allowing them to excel in an area that is "easy" for them, will fill them with confidence.  Do you know what your child's strengths are?

In order to effectively do this, though, I have to recognize that they are not the same.  My daughter is a natural hard worker.  She is gentle with animals.  She is very artistic.  She is a naturally neat person {actually LIKES to clean}.  My son, on the other hand is very friendly, has never met a stranger, he is a natural musician and has a great stage presence. Where one of them has a strength, quite often {it seems} the other has a weakness. 

3. We do not ignore or minimize character and skill weaknesses, in hopes that they might "grow out of it".  The struggles I had as a school-aged child are some of the same struggles I have today.  Your children will be the same.  If they struggle with procrastination, or a lack of organization, they will not get better if you do not directly address the issue and offer guidance to help them overcome those weaknesses.   

If they can't catch a ball or ride a bike or read, you wouldn't ignore the weakness and hope they figure it out on their own, you would actively teach them.  In the same way, having a strong character is not natural, many character traits, like gratitude, integrity, honesty, and persistence, have to be taught.  They have to know what it looks like for them. 

So, what do YOU think?  Do you know what your children's passions are?  Can you identify character or skill strengths and weaknesses?  How do YOU foster those things in your child?

Linking up with Mommy Brain Mixer!  If you follow me, let me know and I will return the favor! :)

This post is a part of the "Becoming a Parent of Excellence" series, 
click the button below to read more. 


  1. How clever to equate them to plants and flowers. I'm going to have to think to come up with my own. ;)

  2. totally loved this. it really spoke to me. my children ARE so very different. and ive been noticing that lately. so ive been working on responding differently..and also the persisitent character building as well.. its beyond frustrating, but needed. thanks for this... =)

  3. Hi AJ,
    I completely agree in observing kids. My first daughter could recognize her ABC's by about 18 mos. My second daughter at age 20 mos still has no interest in learning them, even though she knows the entire ABC song. At first, I couldn't understand why one learned them and the other didn't. I quickly figured out they are different children and will learn differently. Great post.
    I am following you back. Thank you for stopping by my blog and commenting and joining our community. I always appreciate a new member.


  4. So, did you come up with plants for your kids? ;)

  5. You are welcome! Thanks for the comment and the visit! :)

  6. Thanks for the comment and follow! My kids were that way with reading too! My son could read 300+ page books when he was my daughter's age... my daughter is still just starting to read chapter books (80-100 pages)... With something like reading, you know you do the same things with both kids... they just respond differently! :) Good point!


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