Friday, May 13, 2011

Seeing Our Homes as Greenhouses

The Legacy of Home

According to Wikipedia:   "A greenhouse protects crops from too much heat or cold, shields plants from dust storms and blizzards, and helps to keep out pests.  Many flowers and vegetables are grown in green houses in late winter and early spring, and then transplanted outside as the weather warms."

Psalm 128:3 says, "Thy wife shall be as a fruitful vine by the sides of thine house: thy children like olive plants round about thy table." 

Clearly, there is a relationship between children and plants; therefore, it is appropriate to consider our homes as "greenhouses" for the young "plants" which God has entrusted to us -- a place where our children can be protected from the harsh climate of our secular culture, the rampant diseases which would destroy them, and the pests which want to devour them, while they put down roots and grow strong and healthy.

In a greenhouse, extremes of heat and humidity must be carefully controlled, and pests and diseases must be kept out, so that the plants have the highest chances of survival.  Then, the tender plants go through a process of "hardening" where they are gradually acclimated to their environment outside of the greenhouse, and able to stand temperature extremes.

Likewise, we should carefully protect our tender, young "seedlings," making sure the temperature in our homes is not cold and frigid or hot and sweltering, but just the right temperature for nurturing young plants.  In addition to providing plenty of nutrients and refreshing water, we need to protect our plants from diseases, both physical and spiritual, that would weaken them, and keep them safe from pests that would devour and destroy them.  With careful nurturing our seedlings will grow into strong, healthy, flourishing plants, that can gradually be transplanted into the outside world.

Gardeners often move plants from greenhouses to cold frames to be hardened-off before final planting outside.   Wikipedia says, "One of the advantages of using a cold frame is that you can raise a huge variety of crops from seed through to maturity within the frame - so it's possible to have vegetable crops ahead of their normal season when they are extremely expensive to buy."  This reminds me of Psalm 144:12, which says, "That our sons may be as plants grown up in their youth . . . "

One of the pioneers of the Christian home education movement, Gregg Harris has said, "Don't be afraid of the accusation that you're protecting your children too much.  If you're not getting that accusation from the culture we live in, then you're not protecting them enough.  But there is a time for them to be transferred to the field, so they can bear fruit."

When our children are young, we should control their environments as much as possible, and teach them to obey our commands, but as they enter their teen years, they begin to transition into a state of being exposed to more of the world, and learning how to properly respond to temptation and opposition to their beliefs.  This is the "hardening off" stage.  At that point, we begin to make the transition from giving commands to giving counsel.  At some point, our children must engage the world on their own, while we encourage, offer wise counsel, and pray that they will continue to flourish in their faith.

Is your home a greenhouse for the "young plants" that live there??

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