Sunday, May 27

The Smell of Parenting

Interesting title, right? I recently signed up to receive free emails from the authors of Premeditated Parenting. I found them through a link on my friend Carmen's blog, and I was impressed with some of the articles I read. Josh and I love the premise behind being intentional in our parenting style.

I got the following article this week, and I'm passing it along here b/c I figure that since these are free articles and posted right on their website, they won't mind if I give a bit of free publicity. :-) If you're a parent, I hope it encourages you today to pour your energy and very life into the things that will help your child become a passionate servant of Jesus!

The Smell of Parenting

Proverbs 14:4 (ESV) - Where there are no oxen, the manger is clean, but abundant crops come by the strength of the ox.

A novice farmer shows off his clean barn to his neighbor. The ground is spotless, and the manger, or feed trough, looks as clean as new. After shooting the breeze a while the experienced farmer invites his friend to come and see what a barn should look like. The young farmer is a little hurt because he can’t imagine a nicer setup than he has.

They walk over to the neighbor’s farm, all the while discussing the incredible amount of work each of the older farmer’s four oxen can perform. At the barn, hay is strewn everywhere, and the feed trough is covered with dried ox slobber.

“What is that horrible stench?” asks the young man.

“That, my friend, is the smell of money.”

The goal of a farmer is not to have the nicest barn, cleanest trough, or freshest fragrances. His goal is to grow crops and raise animals. To focus on his goal, he lets a few things slide along the way. From sunup to sundown he works hard. He is not lazy or negligent, but he simply has no time to clean troughs and rake out barns. Instead of scooping up every piece of manure, he simply wears rubber boots. (emphasis mine)

A wise parent will take a similar approach. If every meal must be a culinary delight, every toy in its perfect spot, every shelf dusted, and every floor vacuumed, there will be no time left for parenting. With children comes a certain level of messiness. This is to be managed, but also expected. The goal is to raise the children, not eliminate the messiness. As the farmer embraces the mess of the ox the parent should embrace the clutter of childhood. Far more critical things are happening in our homes than keeping our houses spotless. Much good is being produced in a Christian home.

Amen! Now, where did Kaden hide my rubber boots?! :-)


Heidi said...

Thank you for including this in your blog. I struggle daily with what I think are the "priorities"...I have a tendency to do the dishes, dusting and the laundry sometimes at the expense of playing yet another game of go fish or sitting outside with one or both of my girls just hanging out in the prime of their lives. Our time slips by so quickly and I try to make the most of "multi-tasking". Thanks for the reminder to take a minute to recognize the importance of being a parent and letting the dust lie.

JLHesse said...

It's a constant tug-of-war, isn't it? I'm glad you liked the article. I think the awareness that there's a need for balance (between fun and order) and that sometimes, cleanliness is not the most important thing is a great place to start! When I feel guilty about footprints on my floor or smudged windows, I think about what my kids will remember about their childhoods: time with me or the cleanest house on the block? That's an easy one! Bless you, Heidi. :-)

Carmen said...

Jenn, Jenn, Jenn -
How did you know that this particular issue is probably my largest parenting issue. I'm a self-professed clean freak and the things that aren't clean beckon me all day. Ricky keeps saying "this isn't the season of life to have a spotless house."

Thanks for the reminder!

blackpurl said...

When my kids were little my husbadn used to tell me that if the house was messy when he came home it meant that the kids had a great day!

My guys are 20 and 17 now and the messes are all gone but I am grateful for the memories!

Jennifer said...

Thanks for the testimony from beyond toddler-land, blackpurl!