Knee High by the 4th of July

Chances are, if you are older, and grew up anywhere near a farm or a rural area, you know what I’m writing about this evening. And for those of you who don’t know – well, we’re talking about CORN. Yep – good old fashioned corn – like corn on the cob corn…

Mind you, I don’t know much, if anything, about true farming, but both sets of my grandparents did. I remember as a youngster, I would go to my Dad’s folks in Park Ridge, IL, where my grandparents lived on Burton Lane. Grandpa had a really large garden and as I remember Grandma telling me that it was the only house in the neighborhood that was on a double lot. Grandpa grew all the vegetables and Grandma canned them. In fact, as I got older, Janet and I had a large garden as well when the kids were young and we lived in Inverness, IL. It was 60′ x 40′ which was pretty big back then for a single family garden. We had all kinds of berries, squash, beans, peas, melons, pumpkins, onions, radishes, cucumbers (we made great bread and butter pickles) and a host of other fruits and vegetables. Kristin was old enough that she would walk through the rows and harvest things with me. She was only three or four at the time…

While I enjoyed my paternal grandfather’s garden, I really learned about the land from my Mom’s father. Although he was an attorney, and later a referee in bankruptcy (before they were called judges), I think his heart was in working with the soil. If you have followed this blog for a while, you know that I have written many stories about him, and he taught me to love the rhythms of the seasons and God’s provision throughout the year. Now Grandpa didn’t really grow up on a farm, but he sured loved the soil.

As I understand it, his sister married a farmer and they worked for years trying to make a living off the land in southern Michigan. And my mother loved to ride horses, but there really wasn’t a convenient place for her to ride in Chicago. So Grandpa bought 1600 acres in Jonesville, MI – 800 for his sister’s family and 800 for his own family; to add to the land that was already in the family. His brother-in-law and eventually their children all farmed the land and Mom got to go up and ride to her heart’s content, as well as see her cousins, whenever they made the trek to Jonesville. Tinkerbell, her favorite horse, along with many other horses, were all stabled at the farm and eventually Grandpa even started breeding horses on the farm.

I knew Mom’s cousins when I was young but I haven’t been to the farm since I was 2 or 3 years old. Writing this post tonight creates a yearning in me to go there and learn more about that side of the family – I never knew them very well. In fact, I just told Janet that I wanted to do this by the end of the summer… Anyway, among other things, they grew corn up on the farm – and I remember each 4th of July, Grandpa would call his family up in Jonesville and ask how high the corn was. After all, he said that it had to be knee high by the 4th of July to have a chance to have a really good season up north.

I never forgot that phrase. Ever since those early days, I have said the same thing. We never grew much corn in the garden that Janet and I had, but every time I pass a new field along the road, I always think about Grandpa’s farm – wondering how tall the corn is. What brought this all to mind is the fact that on Saturday I went to visit a client site out in a rural area. Sure enough, there were cornstalks already far taller than I expected. Of course, with last week being the 4th, things are right on schedule for a good crop this year. It never ceases to amaze me how many things I remember from my early childhood – it’s like they have some special place in my brain and my heart.

That’s why it is so important to make sure that our children learn about God from a very early age. Statistics prove that most people who accept Christ as their Lord and Savior do so before they are teenagers. In other words, get to them before they are “knee high” and never stop teaching them about a relationship with God. It makes it so much easier for them to believe as they get older and their faith can be so much stronger when they learn at a very young age.

The verse for this evening is from Proverbs 22:6 (KJV), “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” My encouragement this evening is that while it is best to teach your children from a young age, it’s never too late to make them aware of the saving grace of a relationship with Jesus Christ and to love them well. My prayer is that you remember that no matter how old you are, or how old your children are, they will be your kids and you will be their parents all the days of your lives. So keep working on being a great parent. It’s never too late! Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…

 
 
 
 

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