As I’ve watched fields of corn and soybeans near our home grow this year, it struck me that raising a crop is a lot like raising children.
As the birth of a child is miraculous, watching the crops emerge from the soil and grow is awe-inspiring. From spring planting until fall harvest, I’ve watched with wonder the different growth stages, similar to the way I’ve watched our children grow all too quickly, almost hating to blink twice.
Yes, farmers and parents have a lot in common.
When I was expecting our first child, I remember reading pregnancy, baby, and breastfeeding books, trying to prepare myself best I could. I took prenatal vitamins, avoided caffeine and alcohol, and tried to eat healthy.
Likewise, a farmer prepares in many ways to grow a crop. He performs soil tests to determine fertilization needs and to help make his seed choices.
He researches seed varieties and figures out what soil preparation may be needed, such as performing burn downs in an attempt to keep weeds away. (Oh, those pesky weeds we must keep watch for!)
Then, once weather conditions are right, the farmer carefully plants the seeds to the proper depth. Then he says a prayer and walks away for a time.
But just as a baby requires much care and oversight, so does the crop. The farmer closely monitors his fields, watching for bugs, disease and weeds, ready to spray when necessary to keep his crop as healthy as possible.
Relief, praise, and joy come from the farmer when he sees a uniform stand of little plants growing in his fields, akin to a parent celebrating 10 fingers and toes on a newborn baby. And, as with children, this oversight exists throughout the lifetime of the crop.
As parents note with pride, developmental milestones, like potty training, learning to read, high school graduation and so on, farmers notice milestones and recognize the needs that go along with these stages of growth.
For example, when a farmer sees the very first signs of corn beginning to tassel, he knows a good rain is necessary for optimal yield.
Sounds like parenting teenagers, huh?
But alas, even with careful watching, there are external factors we just can’t control. Just as farmers don’t get to choose rainfall amounts, wind, storms, etc., parents are not in full control either.
So, we see that faith, hope and prayer are helpful, if not necessary, for the farmer and the parent.
Many expectant parents are showered with gifts from friends and family during this exciting time. Loved ones enjoy sharing in the excitement, and they know it’s an expensive time for the growing family.
Input costs are expensive for farmers too. Yes, farmers have an enormous investment in each field. With all sorts of bills from input, like seed, chemicals, fertilizer and fuel, the farmer often has plenty of other payments lurking, such as those for equipment and land. (Sound familiar, parents?)
There’s a lot riding on harvesting those fields of golden grain for sure!
So, while realizing we can’t always protect from disease and other factors beyond our control can be worrisome, we can do something to help us sleep at night.
Farmers can opt to buy crop insurance, which can at least cover expenses in case of crop failure, preventing them from going in the hole and providing a safety net.
Where’s the safety net for parents?
As we hold our babies while watching the news of what’s going on in our world, we may be tempted to freak out at the sheer magnitude of parental responsibility. So much could go wrong, anxiety whispers.
Or we can realize that, like the farmer, we are caretakers of these blessings on earth with which God has entrusted us. We can commit our families and our efforts to him.
Ultimately, our crops and our children are his. We are his. The harvest is his. This recognition is truly a blessed assurance worth more than any crop insurance policy.
“Be patient, then, brothers and sisters, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop, patiently waiting for the autumn and spring rains.
“You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near.” — James 5:7-8
Gina Moore, a news-editorial journalism major, has operated Marketplace Consignment Sale for 25 years and has worked part-time at Treasures. She also enjoys country cooking, reading and writing about motherhood, life on the farm and how God’s love and lessons surround area residents.