Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Do as I do

We decided that Labor Day would be a great time to weed some flower beds, lay down some mulch and get them ready for the season. We know most people do this somewhere around Memorial Day, leaving themselves with low maintenance beds throughout the summer, but we're not most people. So last week Monday we spend the day working on our yard in various ways. Jeff mowed the lawn, we weeded two flower beds, turned the soil, soaked them with water and laid down some mulch. Our neighbor ordered far too much mulch when she did her beds this spring and has been reminding us all summer we could use as much as we needed. Thanks, Karen. In the evening, we made up 14 pounds of taco meat and froze it in one pound bags because we had about fifty serano peppers from our garden to use up.
Eli was a big help, too. Throughout the summer, he's been helping his Papa water with the hose and helping his Mama weed, although we're still working on the difference between plants we want to get rid of and plants we want to keep. All day, Eli was keeping close tabs on what we were doing. At one point, I took my gloves off and threw them on the ground to take a break with some cool water. When I turned around, I found that Eli had picked up the gloves and gotten them on all by himself - even on the right hands! He walked straight over to one of the beds still full of weeds and began pulling them out.
Jeff and I have been studying "discipleship" as we prepare to spend several weeks focusing on this at Servant's Community Church in the near future. Dallas Willard, writing about discipleship, says that discipleship was simple when Jesus walked the earth - all the disciples had to do was "to follow him with and attitude of observation, study, obedience and imitation." Eli's living proof that this isn't a complex thing. He follows us around and does what we do, learns to say what we say. He's always studying what's going on around him. All children do. They learn from us how to be in the world and how to interact with other people from watching how we, the big people, interact with one another and live in the world. And this leads me to realize how important you are, whoever you are, to my son's character. Eli learns from me, but he also learns from our neighbor, Karen and from his Aunts and Uncles and Grandmas and Grandpas and cousins and the people at the day care and the people he will meet at the park where he'll go to play ball when he's older and from . . . What will you teach my son? What will Eli learn about being a human being from you? What will the kid next door to you, or the kid in the super market learn from you? Who's watching you?
I'm getting all sappy and philosophical and maybe a little bit "preachy" - I know. But I'm growing a little weary today of people who don't pay attention to who's watching them and what they're teaching our children - mine and everyone else's. Maybe it's just time for that vacation we've got planned for next week. Or maybe I just truly believe that we (that collective, ambiguous we) can do better.

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