Gardening My Children’s Hearts

Parents’ Corner

by on ; last featured September 29, 2019

The challenge of raising children is a lot like gardening . . . weeds and all. The need for vigilance is never ending.

Soon my children and I will be planting several vegetable gardens. Often as I’m weeding my garden, the Lord reminds me that I need to be doing the same in my life and in the lives of my six children.

There are times when just one comment gives me a much-needed glimpse into weeds that have sprouted in a child’s heart, prompting me to take action.

One such incident occurred as I was trying to address the mania when Star Wars hit our home. What had begun as “simple entertainment” had become an obsession. As I sought to explain the unbiblical Eastern philosophy prevalent in the movie, my children responded with strong emotional pleas to the tune of, “But Mom, the Force is like God!” I was stunned.

My children’s words revealed that they had a distorted understanding of God. So I had to ask myself, "What was happening here?"

I came to the conclusion that my family had become out of balance with the amount of time we dedicated to entertainment. I also realized I needed to be even more purposeful in having conversations about the worldviews in all media coming into our home.

While I am planting the Word of God in my children’s hearts, at the same time thorns and weeds are incessantly threatening to choke out the truth. In the parable of the sower, the thorns are explained to be the “cares and riches and pleasures of life” (Luke 8:14). While I strive to be diligent in teaching the Bible, I need to help my children recognize the dangers of worldly pleasures, which can choke out His Word if not carefully controlled.

Shortly after this incident, I attended a Christian workshop given by Bill Jack entitled “Counterfeit Reality.” He explained how movies have a powerful and subtle way of capturing our emotions that in turn easily transform our idea of reality.

I had clearly underestimated the influence of movies on my children’s hearts. Once something unholy or untrue takes root in a child’s heart, it is hard to dig it out. The American postmodern culture inundates us with mixed messages, sometimes subtle and sometimes not, mixing truth with error in an unholy alliance.

To be honest, as a single mom, I get weary of juggling all my responsibilities and trying to monitor all the outside influences coming into our home. I sometimes fail. And when I fail, I am reminded to be more active in protecting my garden. Weeds and thorns will come, but every parent must take steps to diminish the dangers and maximize each fragile plant’s health and resilience.

This glimpse into my child’s heart was a powerful reminder that my most important task is to pass on the undiluted and undefiled Word of God and to keep our home full of things that honor Him. My desire is for a home that’s grounded firmly in the Bible’s truth and authority.

Proverbs 4:23 provides a clear warning, “Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life.” With new resolve I have purposed to do this for my children and myself, God giving me perseverance and grace.

Gail Cherney can be found in Ohio, watching over her six children’s (ages 3–17) hearts. She enjoys reading and studying the Word of God and sharing what she learns with others above all else. You can follow her on her blog at

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