Spring is here, and I’ve spent the last week or so getting my garden ready for planting. We recently moved, so this has been an intensive project that includes building garden boxes, digging up sod, mixing new soil, and planning a watering system. It has been back-breaking work, and my muscles have been soooo sore.
At times, I’ve daydreamed about just being able to walk out, plop a few seeds in the ground, and instantly having a beautiful harvest of delicious vegetables. Wouldn’t it be nice to have all the payback without all the work? But there’s a part of me that realizes that instant gratification is never as satisfying as the results of patient, consistent, sometimes intense effort.
All this preparation has clarified the metaphor that I’ve heard before that growing children is a lot like growing a garden. As the gardener, there are things that I can do to help my plants grow, just like there are things I can do to create the best learning environment for my children. In both cases, there are things I can control, and things that I can’t. Remembering that helps me focus my energy in the right places.
So I’ve written a little creed which I’m posting on my kitchen wall to help me remember that I am . . . .
* Children need to be firmly rooted in a home that provides the essential nutrients of love, truth, and goodness.
* Children need days full of bright exciting ideas and showers of engaging information so that they can learn and grow.
* Children need space to expand their bodies and their minds.
* Children need to be trained and pruned up the trellis so that they can reach the height of their full potential.
* Children need to be fertilized with praise, encouragement, and love.
* Children need daily quiet attention to notice new growth and spot potential problems.
* Children need me to weed out those things that can choke their ability to grow and seem to constantly appear without warning–time wasters, distractions, and evil content.
* Children need time to grow into their purpose–some grow fast and others grow slow, but each has a delicious, delightful outcome at the harvest.
This entire metaphor has also been fueled by a new game that my kids have been playing–a part of which is that each kid has claimed the name of a garden vegetable as their own. How delightful! From now on, I’m going to use these names that they’ve given to themselves as I write about them. (I want to keep them safely anonymous but make it a little easier to keep each of them straight!) If you’re interested in meeting each of my “little plants,” you can read about them on the “Your Guide” page of this website.