Monday, April 12, 2010

The Aerator

It’s springtime and I’ve been working in the yard a lot lately. I had my first experience with a rented aerator a few weeks ago. My back is still sore because the big machine was heavy. I mean really heavy! An aerator looks like a lawnmower but it breaks up the soil in a yard. It is self-propelled and my version had 6 wheels with 12 spikes on teach wheel. As it rotates through the yard, it leaves hundreds of 2 inch holes, increasing oxygen and water consumption in the soil.

I can already tell the difference. The grass is taller, greener and thicker. But the day after I aerated, the yard looked terrible. There were hundreds of holes in the yard, the grass was messed up and there were lots of dirt “plugs” all over the place. But it’s exactly what the yard needed. The soil was hard and compacted and needed to be broken.

Sometimes our kids need an aerator. Sometimes they need “tough love.” Other times they need a hug. Only a loving, sensitive parent can apply just the right amount of pressure needed to produce a taller, greener child. The experts say we only need to aerate a yard every few years. Be careful not to be too hard, too often. “A loving father disciplines the child he loves” (Prov. 13:24). Sometimes our kids need us to step up and be firm in a situation. Sometimes they test us to see if we love them enough to be tough. Sometimes we need to crank up the aerator and apply it to the life of our teen. In love, we need to evaluate, discern and correct.

When I was a teenager in the 70’s, one day I determined that I needed “glass packs” for my ’69 Camero. They made the car sound “cool” when it accelerated. Dumb now, as I think back, but something I “needed” then. I asked my Dad if I could have them for my birthday and he said “no.” I begged, “But this would be for my birthday present Dad.” He replied firmly, “No, they are expensive and you don't need them. If you want them, you’ll have to pay for them.” I was angry as I walked away. He knew I couldn't work with school and sports taking up all my time. I never got the glass packs. But my father ran the aerator over me that day and exposed a selfish, wanting heart that needed to be tempered. My anger blended into a healthy respect and love for my dad who was willing to withhold from me what I even knew I didn't need.

It’s not easy being the right parent for the right situation. But with God’s help and discernment, we’ll be used as His instruments to raise healthy kids. Howard Hendrix said, “God loves much whom He breaks much.” Though painful in the process, loving correction produces a soft, teachable child.

Let God use you to water your teen with encouragement, to fertilize your teen with confidence and to aerate your teen with correction.

Keeping up a yard is hard work, but in the end, come springtime, it’s beautiful.©

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