Another run today and another chance to see how faith and culture intersect.

Every year I start an argument with my wife over mulch.  I know it sounds crazy but it used to boggle my mind why we had to lay down new mulch every year. She always told me it made the house look nicer and it prevented the weeds from growing where we did not want them to grow.  This year, we went cheap on the mulch. As I was bringing in the paper this morning, I saw weeds poking through where we laid down mulch this Spring and, I must say, it was not attractive. Score, Nicole 1, Mike 0.

As the day progressed I decided to go for a run around lunchtime, as the weather was too good not to get outside.  As is my custom, I took along the iPod, selected U2 from the “artists” menu and then selected “all songs” and “shuffle” as listening options.  I always get some inspiration from U2 and enjoy the possibility that I will hear a song that I have not listened to in a long time; or ever before.  Such is the case with Flower Child. 

During the sessions for All that You Can’t Leave Behind, the band recorded a song called Flower Child. While it never made it to the album, it did find its way to a compilation entitled U2 Medium, Rare, and Re-mastered. The refrain is as follows:

 The seeds that you sow

You wanna watch them growing

Wild, you grow wild

You grow wild in my heart

Wild, you grow wild

You grow wild in my heart


I started to think that our children are the seeds that we plant.  It brings me great joy to see our triplets grow and develop (alongside, of course, the anger and frustration that arise when they do something which could be counterproductive to their growth and development). That said, as parents it is our job to provide the fertile soil, water, and sunshine that will enable them to blossom into happy adults.  We have to set a good example for them and teach them values that they can use to aid in decision-making later in life.

During the run I also reflected on one of the big decisions my wife and I are facing; namely whether or not to keep our children at the school where they currently attend or to place them in our public school system. Their current school only has 2 classes per grade while the public school has 5.  In short, we would be able to place them all in different classrooms if we switched schools (right now 2 of them share a classroom). We would like them to have independent experiences and it seems like the later option will be able to provide that. The later option also has us giving up the smaller, family focused environment in which they are thriving.

Is independence a natural desire? That’s kind of a funny question coming on the heels of July 4th but one to consider nonetheless.  From the time we are born we are taught to grow up and be independent, but is a drive for independence a conditioned response to what our larger society values?  I can see where co-dependence can be disabling but at the other end of the spectrum, isolation is as well. 

People do think we are crazy for obsessing on this so much but at the root of our obsession is the desire to see our children blossom.  Which path leads to fertile soil, water, and sunshine and which path leads to mulch?  I suppose only time will tell.  Feel free to share your thoughts.