Picking Strawberries and Sowing Character

A visit to Strawberry Fields in Baguio proved to be a great lesson on obedience for our children and their cousins. We got to Strawberry Fields late in the morning to find that most of the strawberries had been picked.

Even if the older kids were disappointed, we asked everyone to stand in line anyway, in case Farmer Tony (who owned the particular field we were at), allowed us to enter. There were others ahead of us and the kids got anxious as the people combed each row to find whatever strawberries remained. Yet they stood in line patiently bearing the heat of the midday sun, listening to Edric’s instructions.

When it was finally their turn, Farmer Tony welcomed them in and asked them to wait for instructions. However, two women and two kids, who were in line after us, asked if they could just come in to take a photo of the field. “Picture-lang,” was their claim. So we accommodated their request, and our kids and their cousins had to wait again.

The family wasn’t going to pick any strawberries, especially since this wouldn’t be fair to everyone who had been waiting, and to our kids and their cousins who were there before them and worried about the lack of strawberries remaining. Farmer Tony allowed them inside in good faith while our children looked on with restraint once again. What upset all the kids was the family actually started to pick strawberries, explaining that it was just for the photo-shoot’s sake. “For experience,” they said.

Of course all our kids and their cousins began to comment and say, “Hey, they said they wouldn’t do that. They lied.” Strong words from twelve kids all standing in row!

We told them to chill, and be calm. They didn’t need to make a scene or impose their convictions on this family. But of course Edric and I were kind of annoyed at the family’s lack of integrity and for being bad examples of obedience to our kids, as well as nephews and nieces. The rule was, if you wanted to pick strawberries you had to stand in line and wait for your turn. Furthermore, there were hardly any strawberries left on the field and these adults were encouraging their kids to pick out juicy ones for the photo when they weren’t supposed to.

Edric approached them and in a nice but firm way called out the fact that they didn’t honor their statement, but the women just giggled like it wasn’t a big deal. I don’t know what their young children, whom they told to pick the strawberries, thought of the fact that they were breaking rules and being dishonest.

Although we it wasn’t our place to dictate the value of integrity and obedience on that family who took advantage of Farmer Tony’s kindness, as well as ours for letting them cut in, Edric reiterated to our own kids and their cousins that they should OBEY Farmer Tony. Only take the red ones and pull them off the way Farmer Tony told you to.

Our kids and their cousins, ages 3 to 14 excitedly went hunting for their strawberries. Thankfully, they obeyed and didn’t run around like wild animals, yanking off every strawberry they could get their hands on. There were so many more green ones but we instructed them not to take those. In the end they only filled up one box together but they still had good attitudes and they had fun.

It was a peaceful, organized, strawberry-picking morning without us adults getting overwhelmed or stressed by unruly children. In the van, on the way back to the hotel, we had processing time with all the kids. Edric and I commended them for obeying and for having integrity. They didn’t get to harvest as many strawberries as they hoped to but they came away sowing seeds of good character which will reap a more important harvest in the future!

Here’s a great passage to teach our children, especially the older ones…

“Don’t be misled—you cannot mock the justice of God. You will always harvest what you plant. Those who live only to satisfy their own sinful nature will harvest decay and death from that sinful nature. But those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit. So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.” Galatians‬ ‭6:7-9‬

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