LIKE TENDER STEMS
Children are like the tender stems of green vegetables. If you handle them roughly they may get injured/broken or may even die. And if you leave them unattended the weeds and other things will choke them.
Moreover, tender plants like vegetables they need good soil, water, sun shine and other nutrients to thrive. In the same vein, children need good home (good soil), love (water), care (sunshine), peace, support, nourishment, training, discipline, etc., (other nutrients) for proper growth and development
You enjoy and actually get the best from vegetables more when they are tender, delicate and succulent. Likewise, children cause you to crack your ribs with laughter when they are much younger. Imagine the fun when they are learning to talk, walk or do all those things. And they are totally yielded to your instructions with little or no resistance.
You can keep your vegetables tender and succulent for longer periods by pruning them constantly. The more you prune and remove the over mature leaves and stems, the more the tender leaves continue to spring up. And you must not forget to get rid of the weeds and pests that may compete for nutrients with your vegetables.
That is how you keep nurturing and feeding your child with the right values as they are growing up. If you are committed to doing this carefully and consistently, you will always have the love, trust and loyalty of your child irrespective of how old they become.
At times, the weeds and pests attacking your vegetables may become so stubborn that your manual weeding process can no longer handle them effectively. At such moments you need to invite experts to advice you on the best herbicides and/or pesticides to use.
That is exactly how you sometimes need the help of professionals like counselors, therapists or family life coaches to handle very disturbing issues in the life of a child. When you are faced with vices like addictions, drugs/substance abuse, teenage pregnancy bullying, rape, cultism, perverse sexual orientation, etc., it will be foolhardy for you to think that you can handle them without the help of professionals.
As the tender stems grow longer their need for external support increases. And you have to provide support for them to avoid being destroyed by excessive heat or water on the ground.
That is how children need firmer support and closer monitoring as they grow older. Failure to do this will expose them to destructive tendencies, which are always around them.
The more you lavish tender care on your vegetables, the longer you enjoy the nutrients that come from them. But you must always remember to trim them whenever they start growing disjointly or irregularly. If you don't trim them they will lose their tenderness too soon and become wild plants.
Likewise, love, cherish, care and support your children but don't forget to discipline them when they err. If you fail to discipline them they will become incorrigible. And I am sure you will not like that. Will you?
Every vegetable has times and seasons when they thrive. Make sure you know their best times and seasons if you want to get the maximum yield.
Similarly, every child has different stages of development and periods when they are receptive to maximum parental influence. Watch keenly for these, note and utilize them very well. Make sure a child receives the optimum parenting influence necessary for each stage of their development.
Finally, no matter how good the soil is and how adequate all the necessary nutrients are around your vegetable, if you do not put adequate barricades around them for protection chances are that intruders, like rodents, wild animals that feed on green leaves, domestic animals and human thieves will get hold of them and either steal or destroy them.
That is how you need to protect your children from intruders like, online & offline sexual predators, pedophiles, gamblers, rapists, kidnappers, groomers, etc. If you fail to protect them from these intruders, every effort and sacrifice you put into parenting them will be wasted.
I guess you now see why I said that children are like tender stems.