“Children are born with a sense of wonder and an affinity for Nature. Properly cultivated, these values can mature into ecological literacy, and eventually into sustainable patterns of living.”- Zenobia Barlow, “Confluence of Streams”
This spring, my two year old daughter and I started a garden. With sunshine, the garden will grow. With love, my daughter will grow into a confident and passionate young woman. I want her to have the confidence to follow her dreams and the tools to live her life with purpose and passion. Through this garden project, I hope to teach her not only about sustainability, but to help her find the self confidence she will need as she gets older. Gardening will also serve as a medium to teach lessons about the interconnectedness of life. Through my actions as her father, I also hope to show her that she will always have my unconditional love and support in all her endeavors.
Whether you are an accomplished gardener or a novice, gardening with children is a true lesson in patience. Holes will be dug too big (or too small), dirt may be tasted for the first time, seeds will be lost, and plants will be damaged in the process. When you accept the fact that you will not achieve horticultural perfection with this garden, you give yourself the opportunity let go a little bit. These are the moments you and your child will remember forever.
When I think about gardening in my own childhood, I think of times with grandfather. He had a variety of plants and vegetables, but he had a particular affection for his tomato plants. In the tomato garden, even though we’d initially start the conversation about the plants, it was really the only time he also opened up about his life experiences. In that little garden, he told me about the racism he dealt with as a young sergeant during World War II, his opinions on cars (“It’s Ford or nothing ”), and cooking tips (“Put garlic powder in everything!”).
Throughout the spring, I will be writing about the progress of our garden. I look forward to this project and hope you take the time to follow our journey!