July 10, 2012
There is a job here in Nebraska, that I’ve written about before – it’s called detasseling. It’s where kids walk into corn fields and pull the top of the corn plant off as part of the process of raising corn for seed. It is very tough work. This year, my two daughters, Kate and Madi are detasseling. Katie has done it for three years. This is Madi’s first year.
As Katie has, and every kid has, now Madi has hit her wall.
As we prayed this morning for the strength for my girls in the field, Madi sat quietly, head down and tears streaming down her face. She didn’t want to go. This was not the time to remind Madi that when she wanted to detassel weeks ago, we told her that it would be tough work. Now, she needed something more and a bailout was not what she ultimately needs as a young woman, she needed character, strength and mental toughness to push that small, 12 year old body into the cornfields and through that 100 degree heat. This is not some form of child labor going wrong, it is just a really tough job that pays really well. And when jobs are scarce for kids, the seed corn companies do a lot to give them great summer income.
I got a request from Madi at 5:36 am, just before they got off the school bus that takes them to each field:
Kate&Madi: dad its madi I don’t feel good this morning.
Me: madi, it will be better than u think
Me: ur experiencing something u have never before. but trust me, ok?
Me: i KNOW you can push through this.
Me: Philippians 4:8
Kate&Madi: no dad i cant im miserable
Me: go the first round. don’t think this way madi.
Kate&Madi: i’m sorry i’m not trying too i lov u
Me: o how i love u more
Me: focus on the things u see around u that r good
Me: it’s not hot. it’s a beautiful morning
Me: ur not a slave. other girls around the world r in slave camps, afraid for their lives.
Kate&Madi: we are going to benedict but can u tell my boss that i don’t feel good in a text just so he knows
Me: just challenge yourself madi to push. ul see
Me: i don’t want you to miss this lesson
Kate&Madi: can but please text mr. booth and tell him
Me: i’ll wait until you do this challenge.ok? b strong and decide in your mind that u can do more than u think u can.
Me: because God made you very strong, madi
Me: now its ur time to realize it for yourself.
Me: remember to focus on the good things…
Kate&Madi: i will try my best but please please txt my boss i need u to tell him
Me: not yet.
Me: i’m sure i’ll b talking to him at some point.
Kate&Madi: please talk to him now cause im just about to off the bus please daddy
Me: no madi
Me: other kids need u
Kate&Madi: k love u bye
Me: i love u madi
While texting back and forth to Madi I felt awful knowing Madi was sad, discouraged, thinking she was unable to do the work that was ahead of her. But at the same time, I knew what Madi was capable of doing. She is so strong, so good at what she puts her mind to and that this tough lesson in realizing what she is capable of doing would require her to decide to push, not for me to remove the difficulty of the morning from her. When I texted “No madi” I had a pit in my stomach, imaging how Madi would read that and her heart would sink. But I know Madi and I love her and what I want for her is to grow into a strong, confident, woman. Not someone who gets her way when things get tough.
I was struck how often I am like Madi. How we all are like Madi at times. Discouraged, pleading for a rescue from whatever it is – financial troubles, relationships that seem to never mend, jobs that don’t fulfill, health that never seems to improve. We in a real sense are on the bus, texting God asking for him to please make it go away. And God’s response is sometimes silent, sometimes it’s “No.” But going through this simple exchange with my daughter who I love so much, and yet telling her “No.” is a reminder of a love that is beyond just temporary comfort, a love that is longer, eternal with the goal being ultimately whole, strong, confident, loved and guided to that truth.
Stick with it. Don’t take the text of “No.” as being a rejection. There’s a better future if only you decide to look for it with the right perspective.