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Samuel Taylor Coleridge Instructs an Athiest About How To Raise Children Properly Using the Garden as an Analogy

Fellow parents, let’s have our homes so full of the Word of God that our children can’t help but see and hear it wherever they go and whatever they do. The bottom line is this: We are to make God real to our kids.

Samuel Taylor Coleridge once had a dinner guest who was an atheist. During the meal his guest expounded the virtues of freedom of choice and how religion prevented people from being truly free. He was especially upset with how parents train their children in the faith, claiming that kids should be free to believe what they want without any outside influence from their parents.

After dinner, Coleridge got up and asked his friend to come outside with him to take a look at his garden. Coleridge was known as an expert gardener so his guest was expecting to see beautiful flowers, sculpted shrubbery and flowering plants. Instead, he saw weeds everywhere and out-of-control vines and general disorder. Everything was overgrown. The atheist look puzzled and said, “This is your garden? What happened?” Coleridge responded, “Well, I just took your advice. I wouldn’t want to impose myself upon these young vines – I just let them grow like they wanted to.”

Parents, what kind of garden are you growing in your home?

From a sermon by Brian Bill, Parenting Priorities, 11/15/2009

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