by Cara Martens

I’ve got to be honest—I’m more of a planter and less of a water-er. Around this time of the year, I begin to get a little itch to add some color to my world. With great care and excitement, I check out all the local offerings of plants—looking for just the right mix and price. I take most of a day to trim back (or pull out) anything that didn’t make it through the winter. Then I add in new potting soil, chock full of ingredients I can’t say or spell. And I carefully place my young new plants in a hole dug just for them and gently fill and pat the soil all around their new home. Finally, I dust off my dirty gloves and stand back to admire the overall effect.

Unfortunately for my new green-stemmed friends, at this point, my passion tends to run a little dry. It’s pretty hard for me to remember to water these guys, even though I know they’re at a fragile stage of life and struggling to make it through the transition from nursery to the big world outside it. And my sweet Goldendoodle, Boomer, certainly doesn’t make it any easier for them—he’s quite fond of pulling these sweet annual blooms right out of the ground or pot for an afternoon snack.

After years of battling my predisposition to being pumped at the beginning and then quickly losing interest (or in all honesty, hoping my husband steps in), I’ve finally realized that it’s all about making it a regular part of my routine and working it into my every day in a natural way.

So now after I take the kids to school each morning, as I’m walking back in the door, all I have to do is lean down to grab my waiting watering can. I fill it up and take just a minute before diving into my work day to focus on my flowers, especially the new ones. And once a week, I try to mix in a little fertilizer to help them stay bold and strong. Later as my kids and dog play in the yard, I take the opportunity to quickly pull a weed here and there or “dead head” to encourage some new blooms. And it’s no longer such a chore or something that overwhelms me and makes me feel guilty about all those good intentions.

All of this is honestly similar to how I struggle as a parent to really help my kids grow in their faith. Maybe you can relate. It’s pretty easy to snag up the latest book or bookmark a new blog full of ideas. It’s a lot harder to think through how you’ll put what you learned into play this week.

I want to help my kids connect the dots and increase their understanding of what it can look like to live out what they believe. That’s what I think will help their roots grow down deep—so they can survive the transitions and challenges that will and do come.  And by thinking about natural points during the day when we have time together as well as pointing out what’s going on around us already, it’s not really adding anything to an already busy day—it’s just making the most of all the opportunities to grow!

What are some practical ways that you as a parent help your kids faith grow deeper?  How can you make it a part of the rhythm of your day or week?

Cara Martens is the 252 Groups Director at Orange. She loves to write, research, and develop creative ideas. Cara and her husband, Kevin, have two kids and live in Texas.