Engineer vs. farmer
Yesterday I was asked to participate in a family legacy conference at Duncanville’s First Baptist Church. One of the men in our group commented that there are two mindsets of raising a family. While I may have heard this before, it truly resonated with me. He said these two methods of parenting are: the engineer method or the farmer method. How are these different?
The engineer model is to guide and control your children virtually every step of the way. Conversely, the farmer plants his seeds. Then he nurtures them by watering, fertilizing, keeping the weeds out and pruning where necessary. And produce the crop they were designed to be. Can you see yourself in either of these? Which do you think would produce the better end result? I see more legalism in the engineer style, whereas I sense overriding grace in the farmer’s model.
The scripture that comes to mind is; “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it” (Prov. 22.6). He is also very much she. When you analyze this verse, you see that you are to train the child in the way that they should go. And by giving the freedom to mature the way God has gifted them, it will endure all the days of their life. They won’t be inclined to change it down the line because you didn’t try to raise them in the way you thought or designed them to go. One is empowering, whereas the other is controlling.
One could lead more toward resentment and exasperation. “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord” (Eph. 6.4). The farmer is very dependent on the Lord for his crops to be plentiful and fruitful. So should a dad, and mom. One grows corn, wheat, soy beans, tomatoes in a similar manner, but the end result is truly in the hands of God. And so are your children. Each one is unique, with varying gifts and personalities, but in the end these are children that God has designed for his service, obedience and worship.
Right from the beginning in Genesis, his design for creation is so evident. ‘And God said, “Let the earth sprout vegetation, (small) plants yielding seed, and fruit trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind, on the earth and it was so”’ (Gen. 1.11). So it is also with our children.
And how do I as a dad, or mom, go about being a successful ’farmer’? Clearly, there is only one way and God has provided himself to ensure you are fruitful in your parenting. By abiding in him. John 15.1-12 is the model for successful ‘farming’ when it comes to discipling your children. First, Jesus says; “Abide in me, and I and you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me” (vs. 4). These scriptures tell us that he will produce fruit, more fruit, and much fruit through you. Every parent wants to be a ‘fruitful farmer’. Alone, your crops will wither and die. But, in him, they will prosper. Happy farming!!