My wife and I are coming up on twenty-five years of marriage and twenty years of parenting and we’ve found this isn’t just a lawn-care truth:
Small Weeds + Time = Big Problems
We’re all imperfect people married to imperfect people raising imperfect kids. So there’s plenty of weeds. And that’s OK.
As long as we don’t let them grow unaddressed. Some people love to work in their yard. In fact, one of their pictures of heaven is a leisurely Saturday morning piddling around in their lawn and garden. I let them dream. I don’t have the heart to tell them that if there somewhere after death and it involves yard work they’ve ended up in the other place.
I’m not big on yard work. For me it’s a necessary evil. Like paying taxes, running on the treadmill and 5th grade school concerts. I cut the grass when I have to, but I prefer the natural look. I once saw a sign next to the highway that said something like “Cultivating native prairie grass. Do not mow or spray.” I’d like one of those for my front yard. “Sorry folks, I’d pull the weeds, but we’re cultivating native Ohio prairie grass. I know my less environmentally sensitive neighbors are out mowing and trimming and edging. Just pray for them.” My wife doesn’t want me to get the sign. She wants me to mow. So we compromise. No sign. I mow.
I mow. And I pull weeds. I learned that one the hard way. Our first house was on a little hill with concrete steps leading from the porch down to the driveway. I was hurrying down to my car one morning and stumbled over a small pile of rubble. After kicking it out of the way I made a mental note to look into it when I got home from work that night. A few weeks later I was reminded of my lapsed mental note when I stumbled over yet another pile of small rubble. That night when I dug into it, I found that the concrete steps had begun to crumble. The culprit: weeds! Apparently over time these tiny little weeds had built up and joined together and became strong enough to actually erode my porch foundation.
If I had just pulled these little weeds on any kind of regular basis, it would have been no big deal. But because I left them unattended, I had a big problem. Apparently small weeds plus time equals big problems.
That was about twenty-four years of homeownership ago, but I’ve never forgotten it.
You come home late from yet another overbooked and under-resourced day at the office and your spouse greets you at the door with the latest car problem and you snap with a few harsh words. It happens. Small weed now. But if at some point you don’t circle back and make it right, big problem later.
You just want the best for your kids. But your reaction to their less than 100% effort on their latest term paper makes them feel like they’re just the sum of their achievements. It’s understandable. Blending high challenge with unconditional love doesn’t come easy. Small weed. Totally manageable. But left unaddressed. Big problem later.
There’s that friend that’s started to make some questionable choices. Not big things, just little compromises here and there. Should you say something? It’s easier to pretend you don’t notice.
And it’s really not a big thing. Small weed. Now. Big Problem later.
I don’t like weed pulling. But trust me, it sure beats porch repair.
Brian Wells is a TV producer who's debut novel – The League and the Lantern – is releasing in May. It is the #3 top funded children's book by a debut author on Kickstarter! You can find out more about Brian over at his website, LeagueAndLantern.com.
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