We've found out the same thing about children learning to read. It serves no purpose to rush them if they're not ready. Sometimes a four-year-old is rarin' to go, learns to read in three months, and is reading Tolkien by first grade (we've had a couple so inclined), but just as often, an active little six-year old is more interested in exploring the universe than in learning letters -- and you might as well try to teach your husband how to crochet than teach that first grader phonics until he's ready for it. And he will be sooner or later. You just have to watch for it and be ready yourself, because when the time comes he'll make up ground fast. Late bloomers' flowers are spectacular for the anticipation. We just have to accept that their seasons may not be the same as everyone else's.
It's a shame that, in our day, our culture has lost the understanding of the seasons of nature that our forefathers had, because it serves as such a perfect analogy to life. The medieval farmer knew when to start looking for the signs of spring, but didn't start sowing seeds until the hints of nature told him the time was exactly right -- for each field, each new year. And though the timing of the little things changed and the weather affected the crops differently for each harvest, he knew he could rely every year on winter's rest, springs renewal, summer's labor, and fall's harvest.
In our day, we're so used to the artificial control of the climate, in the way of air conditioning and heating, and are so accustomed to the mass production of our food in greenhouses far from our homes, that the deep meaning of the change of seasons has been lost on us, in our understanding of practical things and in our connection with God in our world. A faithful farmer knows that storms and drought and temperate weather are cyclical and out of his control, but he also knows that they're in God's plan just as the new cycle of the seasons will turn on the axis of His universe and there will be a new start every spring, just as unpredictable, but equally in the hands of our heavenly Father. Who clothes the lily, Who numbers the sparrows, Who counts the hairs upon our heads.
To everything there is a season; a time for every purpose under heaven.
There are big seasons and little ones. At the same time we're watching for little William's time to move into the big boy world of personal hygiene, we're talking to our oldest son, Paul, about major life decisions: his career and his upcoming wedding. And all the while, here we are, Dan and I, approaching the end of our child-bearing years, the liklihood of grandchildren looming in the near distance. It doesn't seem possible. We were only just married ourselves, and potty-training Paul! The seasons have passed quickly. But, we've enjoyed the spring and the summer and it's only right that we start to move into the autumn of our lives. And I'm ok with that, too. While we watch the leaves change and start surveying our harvest, our children crowd up around us, in the springtime of their lives. It's all good; God's hand is on the wheel.
And Autumn has always been my favorite time of year.