Parenting is a lifelong journey. Each child is blessed by having a mother and a father who love them and seek to raise them to love God. As Susie explains, there are generally three seasons to parenting:

•  Raising them.
•  Releasing them as adults.
•  Receiving them back as peers, or friends.

Focus on the Family’s Dr. Greg Smalley says part of being a father in the early ‘raising them’ season is giving your children strong roots of character and faith. How can we tell if their character is growing? It takes patience but as Greg discovered, faithful watering leads to fruitful growth.

One afternoon, Greg’s son Garrison asked if they could run an errand for beef jerky. Once they arrived at the store, they happened upon a can that contained seeds for the Carolina Reaper – the hottest pepper in the world. Garrison and Greg brought the can home, delighted to watch their new plant grow. For three weeks they watered the plant with no outward signs of growth. Finally, sprouts have started to appear.

Garrison’s words to his dad upon seeing this were powerful.

“Dad, that plant, is just kind of like what you’re doing right now. Because you’re hoping we have the strong roots. And maybe we won’t be able to see anything for a couple months or whatever, but just want you know they’re growing, and soon you’re going to see this really cool plant.”

Greg saw the connection to parenting and asks each parent – specifically each father – to consider the analogy.

“I just think of the Carolina Reaper. My goal as a father – grow their roots deep, and then you’ll start to see the proof.”

When we invest in our children and help them cultivate their character, it takes years of investing before the fruit is seen. It may take time, but with patience and perseverance, our children will grow character, strength, and the fruit of the Spirit as they walk into adulthood.

Key Scriptures: Ephesians 6:4

Featured Songs: Learning to Love by Consumed by Fire; Deeper by Meredith Andrews; Lose My Soul by Toby Mac


The power of a father