I once heard an ecclesiastical leader speak on the olive press and how we can learn to triumph over our adversities by understanding how it works. An olive press is used to squeeze the precious oil from the fruit, using tremendous pressure. With a twist of a large screw-like wooden press, the olive paste had no choice but to relinquish.
Olive oil is one of the healthiest oils to use in cooking and is nourishing to the skin. In addition, the Bible is full of references where it was used to anoint for blessings. But these and many more benefits come only after a long and difficult process.
If we were to pick an olive off a tree and try to eat it, it wouldn't stay in our mouths very long. Raw olives are inedible. They are extremely bitter. In order to benefit from these very healthy fruits, they must be put through an olive press.
For thousands of years, olives were picked by holding the branches down and tapping them with a stick until they fell to the ground. They then had to be pitted. From there, they went into a crusher, usually a large round stone that ground them into olive paste. The paste was then spread on mesh disks and put through the olive press, which applied so much pressure, the paste eventually relinquished the superior oil.
Here is how this applies to our lives.
Explain that sometimes life feels like our homes are being beaten with a stick. There are many forces out there trying to rip families apart. They come in pretty and enticing packages and seem good, but they will lead to ruin. Pornography, promiscuity, immodesty are among these many evil influences. But they cannot destroy us unless we let them. We can recover from any of these and turn them into valuable lessons.
Again, teaching children that they will feel crushed from time to time helps them to understand when it happens. Broken relationships, losing a pet, losing a job. All of these can be recovered from and risen above.
Pressure is all around our children; Pressure to go against what we have taught them. Pressure to question everything they've learned. Pressure to do things before they are ready. If this happens, they can learn from it and use the "olive oil" to heal themselves.
Let your children know that we will all go through the olive press at some time, or another. It may be by our own actions, or we may fall victim to someone else's bad choices. The important thing to remember is that we have to turn those olives into sweet, healing oil.
Now, here's a marvelous little bit of trivia. The Hebrew word for olive press is Gethsemane. We can teach our children that just as Christ had to go through "the olive press," so we will also. There will be things in our life that will feel like we are being pitted, crushed and pressed. But, if we allow them to teach us, we will turn into something sweet, beneficial, healing and nourishing to others.
It is because he went through the olive press that we can recover from our tragedies with hope and peace in our hearts. If our children have sinned, we can help them recover and learn. If they have been hurt by another's thoughtlessness, we can also help them learn from the olive press.