It had grown to a height of three feet when he finally decided where to put it. Bending down, he grabbed the pot with both hands and tugged. Nothing happened. The tree had made its own decision, its roots bursting through the bottom of the pot and digging their way firmly into the ground. It’s still there, now over twice as tall as the shed and bearing fruit nearly year round.
Our children are like that little tree. Wherever you leave them is where they will put down roots. The atmosphere you raise them in, the people they spend the most time with, the friends they make and the activities they participate in, whether you are aware of them or not, will all have their effects on your children and will influence who they eventually become.
Children are growing every minute of every day, not only in body, but also in mind. You cannot set them aside until you have more time, you cannot leave them on their own without guidance, you cannot give them into the charge of another whose belief system does not match yours and still expect your children to follow in your footsteps. You cannot tell them, not even with all the sincerity you can muster, “Just wait till I finish this degree; just wait till my career is more established; just wait till I can pay off all these bills I ran up, then I will be a good parent to you.” If nothing else, you are teaching them exactly what is most important to you--career, status, “things.” Meanwhile, they may put down their roots in places you wish they never knew of, with people you wish they had never met, and develop a character that may appall you.
“Where did they learn that?” you might wonder. In the place where you left them while you were too busy to be a parent.
Unless the LORD builds the house, those who build it labor in vain.
Unless the LORD watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain.
It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest,
eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives to his beloved sleep.
Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one's youth.
Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them!
He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate,