Growing in the Dry Spots

A recent camping trip reminded me how important it is in families to appreciate the little changes that are being made by each family member.  No matter how small they may appear to be. 

A few weeks ago, we arrived at a RV campground where we’d planned to spend a weekend with my parents.  It was around dinner time.  My dad had parked his RV next to a pavilion shaded by a tall tree.  Because the motorhome was so long it left no room for me to park my van on the parking strip so I parked alongside it on what appeared to be a dry, patch of dirt. 

It was obvious the campground had seen better days

The kids and I had barely grabbed our bags and pillows out of the back of the van when some sprinklers turned on, getting us, the van and all our stuff wet!  We raced around to the motorhome and plopped everything on some camping chairs, not minding the splashes, since earlier in the day temperatures had blared in the high 90s.

For dinner, we ate hickory grilled hamburgers, watermelon slices and dunked Oreos in milk.  (A family favorite!)

Shortly after our meal, a park ranger stopped by our site to inform me I couldn’t park my van on the “grass.”  He politely pointed out some parking spaces near the bathroom stalls.    

After reparking my van, I walked back to our camp staring at the dirt next to the RV and wondering what “grass” the ranger talking about? 

Who was he kidding? 

To make sure, I stood, peering down at the ground, and sure enough all I could see were dry patches with a few splotches of weeds. 

Later that evening, sitting in a camp chair, under a clear, night sky, I felt droplets of water. 

The sprinklers were on—again!?

I said to my parents, “Someone really wants to grow some grass!”

After nightfall, we enjoyed a movie in the motorhome which, for some reason, is so much fun!  The next morning, the sun woke me up early, and I stepped outside the RV to take a quick walk around the campsite.

And guess what? 

I looked at the ground and it looked greener!

Sure.  It was probably all in my mind. 

But still.  I swear it looked greener. 

The difference between what I had seen the day before and what’d I’d seen that morning could only be called one thing—potential

That’s what the ranger saw. 

He felt there was potential in that dry piece of dirt.  And that someday it could become lush, green grass.  And until then he was willing to keep watering it. 

How many times in a day do we look at the dry spots in our lives, in our families, in our children, in our neighbors, co-workers, fellow church members, and judge them for their dry spots? 

For what WE see as their lack of growth?

When really it’s our lack of seeing their potential? 

I can think of number of dry spots I’ve identified in me and my family that I’ve got to look at with different eyes.  I’ve got to stop judging what growth is or isn’t happening.  And just TRUST that it IS happening. 

Families are ALWAYS changing and growing. 

So who are we to judge whether someone is growing ENOUGH?    

I’ve decided my job—a mother’s job—is to shower my husband and children with refreshment and nourishment—to keep watering them—so they can achieve their best growing season, yet! 

And that means I have to change the way we I see all those dry spots. 

A cranky teenager that’s harder than usual to get along with. 

An anxious child who’s whining and worrying about school starting sometimes tires me out. 

A husband who’s unsure about the next phase of his career. 

Change is happening. 

And one thing is for sure.  I can’t stop it. 

But I can NOURISH it. 

That patch of dry dirt and weeds at the campground had something really BIG going for it!  A ranger who was determined to water it and care for it. 

A mother must constantly care for her family’s dry spots—those unpleasant parts of the job that get sticky, and messy, and energy-draining. 

A mother’s job is to help her family grow . . .  even in a drought. 

Because growth is about potential. 

If that ranger could see potential.  So can I!

I read somewhere (and I’ve got to figure out where) that change is like watching grass grow because you don’t really see change happening in the moment but all of a sudden one day the grass is a little longer. 

It’s time to look at the dry spots in your life.  And realize they are a necessary part of life.  Because it’s in those dry spots we mothers can manage some of our best growing.  We’re meant to help the ones we love grow and change so they can become who the best people they can be. 

I’ll be interested to pay a visit to the campground sometime in the future to see how that grass is doing.  But I promise.  I won’t judge what I see.  Because as long as someone is there watching over us we all become who and what we need to be—eventually.

Jodi Marie Robinson is a wife, mother, author, and inspirational speaker.  She teaches once a week at LDS Business College, and mentors women recovering from drug addiction.  Her books teach timeless principles of self-worth.  She loves doing things with her kids.  Whether it's sledding, snowmobiling, hiking, or going on waterslides.  Jodi is the service and volunteering contributor for KSL's Studio 5 program.   She loves being thought of as the neighbor next door—someone who always has a cup of sugar to lend and always needs a stick of butter to borrow (usually on a Sunday!).  Her website is

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