Next time you happen to saunter past by a bed of bloomless flower blossoms, think about your child.

Next time you happen to saunter past by a bed of bloomless flower blossoms, think about your child.

You can guess where this particular bit of musing is headed: Like a flower planted in the moist soil of our yard, our children are dependent on us for nourishment and care.

Children demand our attention, warmth, understanding and, when weeds pop up, protection. Tend to the children correctly, and they’ll blossom into undeniable radiance.

Of course that type of thinking is naïve at best, and foolhardy in its most destructive. After all, just because you tend the flower bed correctly doesn’t mean it won’t be invaded by pests, damaged by the wind, or won’t bruise when you accidently bump it with a lawnmower.

Heck, too much water or direct sunlight could spell trouble for the would-be blossoms.

Your goal should be to protect the bed, not the flowers.

The World’s Greatest Second Grader (WGSG, or my kid if you’re keeping score) is by any measure a well-adjusted little girl. She likes to watch cartoons, eat food, use her father for a 6-foot jungle gym, read books and simply be happy. If nothing ever changed in her life, it’s a strong bet she would grow up A-OK. The problem is her environment is always changing.

At school, she spends time with students shaped by increasingly young parents – the type young enough to tote a backpack around a college campus. She hears music where love equals a few drinks, a trip to the drug store, and waking up next to a stranger. She goes to the store with her parent and hears foolishness about how all young people are bad and shouldn’t go to school because they don’t learn anything. She sees some relatives who treat education as a birthright, not something to be attained and cherished.

The flower bed may be moist, but it is definitely lacking in nutrients.

Thanks to a precious bit of clarity recently, yours truly has come to the conclusion that WGSG and other youngsters need us to worry less about them and more about the world that is interwoven in their lives.

It is imperative we really examine if we’re doing all we can to protect the flower bed. Are we demonstrating the bonds of family by eating at the dinner table? Are we helping our students with their homework and being active in their school life? Do we block out harmful television and radio broadcasts? Do we demonstrate self-worth by placing our religion and other beliefs over objects and possessions?

Only you know the answers to those questions. But next time you pass by your flower bed, its one guess you’ll see the answer.