“…and that’s how you make stone soup,” I finished the story as I saw parents arriving, especially the parents of one particularly precocious five-year-old-ish boy under my charge for a few hours while his parents attended student leadership meetings at the small Bible school where Todd and I worked. Our little Con-Man, a moniker I still use on our young Connor as a grown man, had worn me out, and I had finally captured his attention with the little tale of stingy villagers opening their cupboards out of curiosity about the clever beggar’s unique concoction.
Connor became one of our son’s buddies through his younger years, and together they terrorized the playground at our little commune–not really, but some days, it seemed everyone else thought so.
Our little Bible school had an incredibly faithful and gifted grounds keeper, and the flower beds around the property bloomed with enthusiasm in tribute to his careful oversight. He cared deeply to do his very best, and he protected the property as part of his ministry. All manner of little bugs sought to undermine his plans, and a few of them had two legs and names. Our dynamic duo, Connor and Martin, had other plans and became thorns in his flesh.
Now Bob, also a very kind and patient man, faithfully walked both boys home to their parents, often holding their hands and teaching them as he walked about the importance of taking good care of the property. Those poor saplings needed time to strengthen before they could be climbed or bent down to form a sling to catapult a projectile across the playground.
I wish I had a picture of Bob walking Connor over to the flower beds to teach him about some plant. I’m sure he had some spiritual object lesson infused in his correction as well.
Over a decade after leaving that community, I asked a former neighbor about an apple tree I had planted just before moving out of our home owned by the Bible school. She said Connor had come over and given her advice on how to make it healthier and more productive as nothing much had been done to it over the years since I left.
Our own little guy never caught the gardening bug. Like most children, he probably did not even notice how lush and beautiful the grounds were as he rode his bike through the carefully maintained grass, but something did take seed in Connor. Long after Bob resigned his post and moved to another campus, Connor developed a love for all things green, and he now holds the post that Bob so faithfully executed. That spunky little sapling just needed some time to mature and strengthen before he could become all that he needed to be, and I think our Bob may have tended more than just young trees on that playground.
I imagine Connor will one day walk a precocious little boy home to his parents with a bit of a grin and start growing his own little gardener.
…and that’s the view From My Front Porch.