Pruning is an act of love.
So is raising children.
Today I am pruning bushes and trees and teens’ attitudes and my own perspective.
My daughter found me outside in the lilac bushes, and cried out, “Mom, are you hugging a tree?”
Perhaps this quarantine time made me a bit silly. I showed her the snarly parts of the bush that hindered growth.
She cried, “No, but it’s so pretty! You’re ruining the lilacs, Mom!” She looked at the ground and the pile of sticks and branches, and could not yet realize our lilac bush was not as lovely in bloom as it should be this year. Something hindered growth. Maybe last year, too many fragrant blooms were snapped off and the tree was stunted.
My daughter doesn’t understand that pruning is an act of love. In pruning, I notice everything. I’m immersed, closely and carefully handling each part of the whole to determine its growth. Each branch is examined: where are you going, where have you been?
Some offshoots are unhealthy and pressing into the siding of our house. Those are cut if they cannot be redirected. Others are jumbled messes of unproductivity and can choke out healthy blooms.
After she watched me prune for a while and saw my care and consideration for the well-being of the lilac, she said, “It’s cleaning out mess, so all that grows is good.”
Then the neighbors’ sprinklers went on, so the lesson was finished; we collected some lilac blooms we’d pruned, then placed them in a bowl to enjoy outside.
We went out back and she played volleyball with a pink bouncy ball for her hour of PE, working on bumping, setting, and spiking. Lots of spiking because it’s her favorite move.
While she played, we talked more about pruning and school and the perseverance needed to stay focused and finish 7th grade.
At times it’s difficult to shape a young character and redirect. It’s painful for the one pruning, with thorns, but discipline does not equate punishment; it’s a loving guidance.
Because I love her, I will continue to take notice at the direction of her ways, attitudes, habits. I must first model how to live what I hope to see in her.