Thursday, July 4, 2013

Lessons from My Weeds

We are once again making feeble attempts to grow a garden. I started a little herb garden right outside my back door, and I love snipping bits of basil, rosemary, thyme, and parsley. Ahhh, the smell of fresh herbs is intoxicating.
I've been enjoying my herb garden enough that I've actually been taking special care to weed it regularly, rather than waiting till the weeds are two feet tall to fret about how to save any remaining plant life. These days I pluck up these little suckers as soon as they appear. It doesn't matter that I am huge and pregnant--I want to save my herbs.
Recently my kids were having some obedience issues, and it felt like everything I asked them to do bounced right off the walls on its path out the door--they sure weren't listening. Finally I snapped and started handing out more consequences. I tried to compensate for my new strictness by placing extra emphasis on praising and encouraging. But it didn't take more than a day or two to realize that I was on the wrong track, and I don't want our family to revolve around me doling out dictatorial consequences or threats. I needed to pluck out that little weed of a habit quickly before its roots got too deep. I had to save my plant life before the weeds overcame any local goodness.

So we held a little family night about obedience. We started by pretending to make cupcakes with no regard for a recipe and discovered (no surprise here) that we didn't end up with cupcakes. Recipes and rules both have to be followed if we want good results. We discussed scripture heroes (Moses, Noah, Nephi, etc.) and analyzed what would have happened if they hadn't obeyed God's commands. We ended by eating some real cupcakes (previously prepared) and talking about the importance of obedience, telling the kids how much we love them, and discussing how we could help them remember to be obedient before we get too grumpy about it.

Presto! Life got magically better after that. I didn't have to work nearly so hard to find actions and attributes to praise and encourage, either.
Sometimes a weed appears in my habits or behaviors, and it's better to pluck it out while its small. I can't think of much I value more than the plant life of our precious little family.

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