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Lawnkeeper vs. Familykeeper
by Willie Batson

It brings me immense pleasure to walk among the finely manicured blades of grass adorning my front yard. I spend time on my knees pulling out weeds that choke the good seed. I can talk for hours with fellow lawn keepers about the finer points of turf improvement.

My wife has a different perspective. She likes a nice looking yard, but there are more important things in life than having the best looking lawn on the street. How do I know this? Because of an important lesson she taught me.

When our daughters were in elementary school they enjoyed building what I called “tent cities.” They would gather all the bed sheets and blankets we would let them use and drape them over chairs. They loved crawling in and out as they played their imaginative games.

On one particularly nice summer day they were building a tent city on the front lawn of our house. I stood at the door telling Cindy all the reasons why this was not a good idea. The grass would suffocate and turn brown. There would be holes all over the front yard. My fellow lawnkeepers would remind me that this activity was not good for a healthy lawn. “Why couldn’t they build this thing in the back yard?” I said. “I don’t spend as much time working on it.” Cindy looked me squarely in the face and emblazoned these words in my memory forever: “Willie, we’re not raising a lawn. We’re raising a family.”

Those words stung as I reflected on my priorities for family living. Was I as intentional in raising a family as I was in raising a lawn? Or was I simply hoping that everything would turn out right?

Cindy and I had received childbirth training from the hospital, but no one gave us a flight plan for the journey once we brought our children home. Many a parent has wished their child came with an instruction booklet like the one in their car’s glovebox. I have learned that you have two choices in raising a family. You can be intentional or you can have a “what-will-be-will-be” attitude. Intentional parents actively determine the course of their family rather than being moved only by the popular winds of current culture.

How can a parent be intentional? Let me suggest several practical steps one can take.

  • Plan to have frequent, in-depth conversations with your children.
  • Decide to be involved in their schooling. Kids who do well in their education have parents who want to help them.
  • Pray daily for your children and for godly wisdom in raising them.
  • Set standards for appropriate behavior and discipline when rules are violated.
  • Plan to monitor where your children are going and know who their friends are.
  • Monitor the activities in which family members are active. Do not over-schedule.
  • Teach and model for your children how to love and serve God.

By no means is this an exhaustive list, but it is a start. I urge you to pray over it, add to it, and practice it by God’s grace.

©2010 William Batson – All Rights Reserved
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This article appeared in Living with Teenagers published by LifeWay.