I dream of a beautiful garden someday, with flowering bushes, graceful trees, flowers of all sorts, brick patio maybe. Outdoor play structures or a play house for the kids, a bench, some exciting nooks, a sand pit a.k.a. a sand box, perhaps a little gazebo or a pergola. Righ now however my yard doesn't look much like this fantasy paradise. We inherited a very large but very neglected yard when we moved into our current apartment. For many reasons it hasn't been improved tremendously over the past few years. But it 's still a wonderful place to be and play and there is plenty of scope for imagination as I turn various ideas in my mind and pour over my gardening books. But it occured to me that even in its' current state my garden holds many lessons applicable to life with children. Even in its uncultivated state, there are many beautiful spots and surprise plants that grow there, that never cease to delight me. So too we, even along the way, as we try to grow together, have many beautiful, pleasing and exciting traits and gifts in us even in our unfinished state. Just like in a garden, if we don't do anything to stop them, the weeds will claim significant ground. It's the same in life. But, sometimes even the weeds are beautiful. In life too, things that at times seem awful, painful, ugly, useless or annoying can turn out to be something wonderful after all. A beautiful garden takes a lot of effort and care, the results can take a long time and it's not always immediately apparent whether what you are doing is working or if things will turn out as planned. One needs a lot of patience and perseverance. It's this way with raising a family too. In a garden you reap what you sow. In a home everything one does has reprecussions, good and not so good. The most important lesson though is that without G-d nothing will grow even with our best efforts, not in the garden and not in our lives. So we should do what we have to do but pray for success with every step. Then hopefully we will rejoice at the beautiful garden of our dreams, enjoy the process of getting there and feel G-d's presence always.