Thoughts on Training and Restraining

I’ve been giving some thought to ideas about education and gardening and wilderness. When a flowering plant is cared for, watered and fed, pruned, and restrained so it grows up in a pleasing manner, it could be compared to a child who has been well-trained. The same sort of flowering plant allowed to grow in the wilderness outside the garden might have more freedom and might learn to thrive there, but it is also more likely to be destroyed by weeds or lack of water, etc.

Now, I don’t really like comparing children to plants because children are humans and the comparison does break down when you think about it too long.

Still, I wonder if the life I’m providing for my children has enough of that training and restraining? I think, if our home is a type of garden, it would not be the sort with bushes pruned into exact shapes and neat little paths winding their way through the flower beds. Our home-garden is more wild than that. It has some weeds. But I’d also like to think there is plenty of nourishment. Good books, good food, Bibles being read (even if the Bible-reading is more spontaneous than scheduled), craft materials available, outdoor activity encouraged. It’s the pruning/restraining part that I’m not sure about. I think a system is necessary for restraining to work, and my husband and I don’t work well together on systems. I have some schedules such as meal times, bath times, and bed times. Formal school work is generally accomplished in the mornings. My husband is much less scheduled than I. And if I talk to him about some sort of discipline plan for a child, he might overly-enforce it for a day or two and then forget about it. As for me, I get exasperated easily and don’t remain as calm and objective as I ought to be. (Imagine a garden with a strange cloud hovering above it which rains down on the plants heavily and sporadically depending on how well it thinks those plants are growing.) I’m not exactly complaining; I’m just saying we’re letting in some wilderness in some parts of our children’s education.

I like to think about these sorts of things sometimes. It makes my brain feel more complex:) How do you think your home-garden looks?


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