cultivation - the process of fostering the growth of something
Last evening, I was paid a completely undeserved compliment on my parenting. I tried to accept it graciously, all the while giving the credit where it belonged - God. I won't lie and say that I didn't appreciate it, compliments are wonderful and encouragement is always needed. Most of the time, though, parenting in our household is done while flying by the seat of our pants. I won't speak for my husband, but I make mistakes more frequently than I can correct them and each age and stage brings opportunities to make new and even larger mistakes.
This weekend, though, as I watched my children, the word "cultivation" popped into my head. When I think of cultivating, I think of growing produce with the intention of bringing out desired traits and then passing those traits on to future generations. Sometimes, even the smallest action on the part of a child can signal that those "desired traits" are taking hold. My son spent hours working on whittling walking sticks this weekend, carefully carving and scraping until he was satisfied. I noticed him frowning at one of the sticks and asked him about it. He answered that one of the sticks he made was "no good". Thinking he was being too hard on himself, I tried to reassure him. Exasperated, he explained that the walking stick had a curve in it and was not strong enough to bear weight. If someone used it, it might snap and that person might be hurt. He then went on to start a new, stronger stick. I was so proud of the fact that he thought ahead and had the integrity to hold his own work to a high standard.
It makes me wonder if God feels the same way about us.