Thursday, November 10, 2011

Enjoying the Harvest - Part 2

Let me take a moment to share the definition of harvest with you, taken from Merriam Webster's Collegiate Dictionary:

harvest — to gather in (a crop)

A farmer plans for his crop all through the winter, then prepares (cultivates) the soil in early spring, and finally plants the seeds of a new crop. Throughout the summer, he works on maintaining and protecting his crop from drought, insects, and weeds. And then at the end of the summer, he finally begins his harvest, gathering in this precious crop that he has worked so hard to grow.

Can you see the similarities to our efforts as parents? We plan, plant, grow, nurture, and somewhere along the way, the harvest concept kind of gets lost in the search for both shoes, the car keys, the “right” curriculum, and on and on.

Just like raising a stand of fruit trees (or maple trees, pecan trees, etc.), so goes raising a child, in a way:

·         A season to prune and maintain the plants themselves (the physical needs as well as the emotional needs)
·         A season to fertilize to invigorate the plant's production of fruit (talking, reading, sharing, putting information and caring into their lives)
·         A season to tend the fruits as they develop (keeping an eye on their interests, activities, etc.)
·         A season of harvest, when the fruit is enjoyed and preserved, keeping an eye towards the future for the next season of growth (protecting them from harm during tough times and planning the next season of growth)
·         And then, of course, the cycle begins anew, as the cycle of life thankfully continues.

Given some time for reflection, you can see back through this past year and remember some prime harvest moments, both educational as well as emotional and spiritual. There were also some moments or events that strengthened and united your family, as well.

I've made myself keep a small journal of these kinds of harvest insights, both for encouragement and so that I realize the progress being made for our efforts. I know it is hard to find time to write down these kinds of things, and I am one of the worst when it comes to finding time for extra efforts like this. BUT, I have MADE myself do this with a journal, for all of us. Here are some ideas in each harvest moment category that I mentioned above, to help you see what I record:

Breakthroughs in their education:

·         First word read all by themselves
·         First book read independently
·         First time they read a book with interest without having it assigned
·         Mastery of multiplication tables . . . FINALLY!
·         Breakthrough on long division
·         Moments of realization when they really understand a concept . . . such as gravity
·         When they begin to connect the things that they are learning with the world around us

Breakthroughs in their emotional and spiritual development:

·         They slow down to help younger siblings voluntarily
·         Refusal to “follow the crowd” based on principle or belief
·         They know to pray first and realize the power of prayer
·         Doing the right thing even when you are not around!
·         Helping others without being asked
·         Searching for the Lord’s will as they face decisions
·         Appreciating grandparents and other family members
·         Welcoming guests wholeheartedly and caring for their needs
·         Asking if you can all go do something together . . . amazing!

And last, but not least, moments that strengthen and unite your family:
·         When one parent is ill or injured, and they all work together to share the burden
·         A death in the family or extended family, when they learn the real value of love and family, as well as the role of faith in assurance
·         When times are financially strained, and everyone comes together to conserve, plan, and help ease the struggle
·         Projects for the family tend to provide long-lasting memories as well—working together to add a room to the house, helping a neighbor, etc.

These kinds of things are all what I call those harvest moments—golden, reflective, and rewarding of our efforts. They may be brief, like a shooting star, but they are just as joyous when we take time from our hectic schedules and plans to see them and realize that progress is being made and our efforts are bringing in a good harvest.


Amanda B.

If you missed Enjoying the Harvest - Part 1, you can read it here.

  Be sure to visit often, as we are celebrating Thanksgiving Unit Study Adventure together this November!

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