Where’s the Fruit: In
the Elementary Years
I’ve always greatly admired my friend
Sandy. She is the mother of fourteen children, a loving and devoted wife, a homeschooler extraordinaire and, on top of all
that, she has a green thumb! Before you roll
your eyes and turn to the next article, let me
just say this: she’s not perfect and neither are
her children (and she’ll even admit it). The
thing I most appreciate about Sandy is that
she always shares with us her mistakes and
what she has learned from the Scriptures to
equip her to correct those mistakes.
Recently Sandy told us about the
lessons she had learned from her cornfield.
I had to smile at the story she told about
her harvest of corn this year. Her corn
patch only produced three small ears of
corn. She quickly ate one cob and squirreled the other two away in the refrigerator,
and they went bad. She told us about all the
money, time, and energy wasted on that
patch of corn, which yielded only one
She realized there were two things that
caused this deficient harvest: lack of soil
preparation and inconsistent watering. Her
words were: “I was in a hurry to get that
corn planted and did not take the time to
add to the soil the nutrients that corn needs
to grow. I thought of how many times I
have done this with my children. You know,
it’s the ‘Quick! Let’s get our Bible time
done, so we can get busy with the “real”
school work.’ But the reality is, that when
we are teaching our children out of God’s
Word, we are preparing the soil for everything else that goes in as well.”
It takes time to prepare the soil, and it
takes time to prepare the hearts of our children, but we tend to run around in circles
and tire ourselves out so much that we have
no time to “prepare” anything of value.
During the season when our children are
no longer very young but are entering the
elementary years, how do we prepare their
hearts and make them soft to receive seed
from us and from God? I have found, by trial
and error, that the following list is especially
helpful in preparing these young hearts.
Preparation of Soil to Receive Seed
• Love sincerely.
• Make relationship a priority.
• Be an example of humility and gentleness.
• Show patience.
• Stop and listen.
• Show mercy and grace.
• Be ready to forgive and ask for forgiveness.
A haughty, frustrated spirit in me only
produces more haughty, frustrated children
after me. I have found the Scripture to be
very true, that it has been “kindness that
leads to repentance.” In other words, we
need to live it in order to sow it. As Sandy
says: “When we are teaching about a God
who loves them, they need to experience
that love through us. We teach them their
need for God’s forgiveness as we forgive
them. They also need to know how important it is to forgive others, so it is by us
asking their forgiveness when we have
been harsh, or misjudged them, or whatever the offense, that they learn how to
“For if ye forgive men their trespasses,
your heavenly Father will also forgive
you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive
your trespasses.” (Matthew 6: 14–15)
Returning to Sandy’s pitiful cornfield,
she said that besides the lack of soil preparation “was the inconsistent watering.
Some days I would water in the morning
and then skip it until the next evening.
Sometimes I would be in a hurry and just
give them a little water, and other times I
would leave the hose there and flood them.
This produced dwarfed plants. Some of my
plants never grew bigger than 6 inches tall.
A 6-inch plant does not produce corn.
Many of the plants were too thin and
malnourished to even support any corn on
them—all because I did not take the time
to consistently water those plants.”
How can we make sure our children are
refreshed and strengthened and that these
young plants are being watered?
Watering the Young Plants
• Consistency in the Word of God
• Daily washing with the water of the
Word of God
• Pointing to Jesus, who is their Living
• Planting close by the source of the
“But his delight is in the law of the LORD;
and in his law doth he meditate day and
night. And he shall be like a tree planted
by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth
his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall
not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall
prosper.” (Psalm 1: 2–3)
Here is true wisdom I gleaned from my
friend that day: “Why am I so inconsistent?
It’s because I haven’t really made knowing
Christ the priority. I allow other things, less
important things, to take up my time,
instead of spending it with Him. In doing
this, I am teaching my children to do the
same.” What about you? Are you taking the
time to “water” your plants? With a lack of
water comes a lack of fruit.
Where’s the Fruit:
Entering the Teen Years
No longer kids, not quite teens—these
years are filled with changing ideas, attitudes, and bodies. These years can be
somewhat unstable, but I think there is a
purpose for the turbulence: to strengthen
and sharpen these children, who are
preparing for a season in which they will
be given the privilege of bearing more
responsibility. It is a time when they begin
to start working out and walking out and
living out these things that we’ve been
sowing into them all these previous
years—as their choices.
Does it seem like you are always
rubbing each other the wrong way at this
age? Maybe you’re rubbing each other
the right way. Let’s look at this
Scripture: “Iron sharpeneth iron; so a