Proverbs 31:28 [ESV] – Her children rise up and call her blessed.
No one plants a seed in the morning and eats the fruit in the evening. Parenting is a lot like gardening, and what we sow today will be reached in a future season. For example, most moms of a two-year-old throwing a fit do not get to see that same child rise up and call her blessed for a few decades.
Like gardening, parenting is seasonal. The key is to know what we are sowing in each season. Here are the eight seasons of life for parents, grandparents, teachers, and other caregivers to consider:
- Conception to birth is about preparing your inner and outer environment. You are a parent before your baby is born and you are eating healthy, getting the house ready, and gathering the small mountain of new accessories (changing table, crib, car seat, clothes, diapers, bottles etc.)
- Baby (from birth to 18 months) is about feeding and nurturing so that the child develops. Emotional bonds are built with the child through comforting touch. Physical health and growth are made possible through feeding. Spiritual life is sown as you pray over the baby and invite God’s presence into their life. In this season, they also become more mobile and tactile, which is why parenting can feel like you are on suicide watch as the kid keeps trying to put everything in their mouth.
- Toddler (from 18 months to 3 years) is about informal training and starting to engage the reasoning of the young child. Around this age kids learn their new favorite word, which is usually “no”. In this season, children need to learn to regulate their emotions, abide by rules, be part of a group, play with others, and take on some responsibility with basic chores. In this season, kids also start to form their own preferences and style in areas like what they want to eat and how they want to dress.
- Preschooler (from 3-6 years) is about more formal training during very busy years. Boys in this season are particularly active and wear you out. In this season, kids need more formal training, they ask “why” a lot as they seek to figure life out, they are ready for playing and socializing with other kids under less supervised environments, and they tend to like crafts and creativity.
- School age (from 6-12 years) is about character and identity formation. The child has a growing independence as their parents are not always present. Their interests tend to cement (e.g. music, sports, art, etc.). In this season, the child also forms their style and friend group.
- Teenagers (from 13-18) is a tough time, especially amidst the cultural gravity pulling teens toward folly and rebellion. Most kids have some sort of identity crisis, trying to figure out who they are, and struggle with the awkwardness of puberty, which can include moodiness.
- Young adults (from 19 onward) is about cultivating responsible independence. You start earning money, paying bills, and governing your own life so that your parents are not as needed as they once were in the daily stuff of life.
- Parenting adults is about lifting burdens and being wise counsel so that they can start their own family and repeat the seasonal cycle of parenting themselves.
Which season has been the best in your life thus far? Which season has been worst in your life thus far?