Here’s your Wednesday Story from my never ending notebook and everlastingcoloured pencil
Soil and Toil
A priest was driving his car along a remote country road. As he reached the brow of a hill, he slowed down and whistled to himself. Stretched out below him, nestling in the valley, was one of the most beautiful farms he had ever seen.
The fences were trim, the crops a lush green and a line of trees led up to the farmhouse, which though set back from the road was clearly kept in immaculate order.
There were flowers and vegetables growing in the cottage garden, and white-painted stones demarcated all the borders. The scene was worthy of a travel agent’s brochure.
On the other side of the road were more fields. The soil was rich and deep brown, and clearly had just been ploughed into the straightest furrows the priest had ever seen.
On the far side of the fields the priest was able to pick out the distant figure of the farmer sitting on his tractor, moving slowly forward towards the road, finishing off the last of his ploughing.
It was a beautiful sunny day and having not much to do, the priest coasted down the hill into the valley, parked his car and walked over to the paling fence. He stood enjoying the sun on his back, the smell of the freshly turned over earth and the satisfying sense of God’s abundance.
The farmer looked up from his work and saw the priest. He carefully continued with his last row, switched off the engine, slowly dismounted, and then – ambled across to where the priest leaned against the fence.
As the farmer got closer, the priest smiled and greeted him, “Beautiful farm you have here. God has certainly blessed you with this land.”
The farmer took a sweat – stained handkerchief from the pocket of his overalls and wiped some of the beads of perspiration from his forehead. Then he took a long moment to cast his eye over the whole spread.
He removed the piece of straw he’d been sucking from between his lips and, still holding the silence, allowed his eyes to engage with the priest.
Finally, in a slow, deliberate voice, he replied, “Yes, Reverend, you’re right. God has indeed blessed me with a beautiful farm. But, I just wish you could have seen it when He had it all to himself.”
We are all surrounded by wonderful resources, our children, our partner, our health, our homes, our families, great friends, the beautiful spring weather, plenty of food, wonderful opportunities… but perhaps it’s up to each of us to decide what we want to do with them.
Success may require you seeing a clear set of outcomes and a vision for the future as a family and it often takes time, patience, persistence and discipline as well as tenacity…….
It is also about being aware of your part in making things happen in your life and taking small steps of action towards them every day, every week, and every month.
Perhaps it’s having the discipline to work hard and handle the adversity of setbacks, challenges and disappointments positively or being flexible and having the courage to take risks.
Developing a farm is no different from developing a happy, positive, well balanced, loving family…. it needs feeding, nurturing, watering and sorting out…. it needs commitment, vision and hard work. It also needs time.
Nurturing and building a strong family is not just an accident that happens to some people and not others – it’s about your mindset, your values and your commitment to shaping your family and positively influencing your children.
So what’s this story offering you as a parent today?
• What can you do today to start creating a vision for where you want to go in your parenting?
• How will you know when you’ve got there? What will you see….. feel…..hear…. and know?
• How can you begin to make some small changes that will make a big difference over time this week?
• Who in your family needs watering, nurturing and attending to?
• What will be the benefits to you and your family if you commit to doing that this week?
• What do you notice about other happy families ……. What are they doing well…….. and how can you copy some of their actions, mindsets or ideas to help you move forward more easily and positively?
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About the author
Sue Atkins is a Parenting Expert who offers practical guidance for bringing up happy, confident, well behaved children. She is also the author of “Raising Happy Children for Dummies” one in the famous black and yellow series published worldwide and the highly acclaimed Parenting Made Easy CDs. She regularly appears on BBC Breakfast and The Jeremy Vine Show on BBC Radio 2 and her parenting articles are published all over the world.
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Sue Atkins the Parenting Expert
T: + 44 1342 833355 M: 07740 622769
Surrey RH7 6LF