Of Yard Work and Parenting

Not to bore anyone or anything, but here are my not-so-deep thoughts on parenting as illustrated through mowing a fairly large and unruly lawn.

We use a reel mower.  You know, the old-fashioned, man-powered kind?  Yep.  That’s how we roll.  Find the hardest way to do a task and then push through (pun most definitely intended) until the job is done.  When you envision our lawn mower, you really should have this picture in mind:

I hope this is not copyrighted….maybe since only 7 people read this blog it won’t really matter??? Yes, I’ll go with that.

Our mower looks a little more modern than this but that is purely cosmetics – a bright orange cover over the reel, a nifty-looking “ergonomic” handle, and the like.

When we purchased the mower we were living in a suburb with a small-ish yard in one of the flattest states in the Union – Texas.  This mower was perfect for maintaining that lawn.  Then we moved a couple of times and now we find ourselves with quite a bit more yard to deal with, a hill, a large section that was easily over 2 feet tall, and a lot of ditches and holes in the ground.

The yard is a bear.  But one that we are taming, week by week.

Most people would probably invest in a ride-on mower for this yard.  Or at least something powered by more than two legs and some elbow grease.  But we’re not really in the market for either at the moment, and like I said, we prefer to find the hardest way to go about our work.  It makes for an interesting life.

We may not be using the best mower for the job, but we are still getting the job done.  My grandfather probably would have something to say about that.  He was a man who liked to do the job right with the right tools for the job.  He was a bit particular about knives in the kitchen, among other things.  There were knives for every purpose and mixing and matching a knife to a task was a practice of which he would most likely not approve.  But a knife is a knife, and in the end, even if your chicken looks a bit butchered (yes, that was intentional), in the end you still have sliced meat to serve for dinner.

This is like parenting.  We may be facing issues that are beyond our abilities.  We may feel like we really don’t have the right tools for the job.  But the work must still be done whether or not we have the most efficient and effective way of doing it.

After a few weeks of hacking away at the lawn, it is looking considerably better.  And while plowing through a section yesterday evening I thought how much easier it was than the first time we tried mowing the same patch.  We could hardly cut through it two weeks ago, but after some persistence and some willingness to accept a job not perfectly done, it is becoming more manageable.

By more manageable I mean that by expending the same effort as before I was able to mow through a larger section.  It still took over an hour (and that was less than 1/4 of the yard), my heart rate was still in the 170’s most of the time, and I still burned 687 calories doing it (this is the “reel” reason we haven’t replaced our push mower…built in weight-loss plan!) BUT the progress was more evident this time around, more work was done, and I was not nearly as discouraged as previous attempts.

So, dear parent, keep pushing forward.  There will be times it gets a little easier.  There will be times you catch a glimpse of progress.  Even if you don’t, your job is to be faithful to parent to the best of your ability with the wisdom God has given you in the moment.  As much as every parenting book, blog, and Pinterest article would like to disagree, your job is not to turn out the best looking yard while putting forth the least amount of effort and having great hair and makeup while you’re at it.

And here are some random pictures of cute kids, because we have a lot of them around here and I like to remember the very many perks of this parenting gig and why the 271% effort is so worth it.  And, yes, there are three pictures of the baby.

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