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Clean Earth To Till

I was at a conference for women a few weeks ago, and a quote by Tolkien was mentioned. I loved it and jotted down in my notes, 'they may have clean earth to till. -Tolkien.' It struck me because it reminded me of this blog that I started years ago and have neglected for a long time. I came home and googled the quote. It was a little different than my notes, and after finding it, I had to read over it several times to feel like I fully understood it.

“It is not our part to master all the tides of the world, but to do what is in us for the succour of those years wherein we are set, uprooting the evil in the fields that we know, so that those who live after may have clean earth to till. What weather they shall have is not ours to rule.”

― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King

I have not read the book the quote comes from, so I do not know the context in which it was written, but this is how it translates for me: I don't have to do everything or know everything, just help how I can where I am now. If I focus on filtering out evil in my own family, and my own circle of reach, I will give my children and their generation a clean place to start from. I cannot control the future or what they will do with what I provide, but I can give them their best chance.

When my husband Rob was in high school he had an English teacher that was requiring the class to read a book that had been on the banned list for its profanity and inappropriate content. When she introduced the book to the class, she gave a big speech and told them all that there might be things their "mommies and daddies wouldn't like" but that they should not go home crying to them about it because it was important literature etc. etc. 

After class Rob went to her and said that he didn't want to read the book because it was offensive. She threatened that she would assign him another book that was much longer and more difficult to read if he refused to read it. He said that he would read the other book. She then got angry and questioned, "Why is it a big deal? You hear swearing and this kind of thing at school every day anyway!"

His answer was very profound for a teenage boy. He simply said, "I control what I can."

I want to choose what grows in the field my family lives in. I don't want to passively watch and allow evil and nonsense to guide what the harvest will be.

What we, as adults, choose to include and exclude in our family influences how the next generation will think and act. Their thoughts and actions shape what they will become. So let us choose carefully.


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