I’m the first to admit that when our family is in the garden, our kids are way more interested in searching for bugs and climbing the giant bark pile nearby than actually working.
A part of me doesn’t mind at all. For one thing, a certain three-year-old we know seems to pull up more seed sprouts than weeds. 🙂 And for another thing, although our kids’ efforts may not always be particularly productive, I can see them falling in love with the soil and the sky and the fresh air right before my eyes.
And besides, with some gentle nudging, they’re more than willing to offer their “help.”
1. Problems feel smaller and farther away when you’re outside.
It’s one of the simplest truths of life—but one I want my children to really grasp before they grow out of my care. Feeling of your smallness when you’re under an endless blue sky puts life into perspective. Simply put, problems feel smaller when you’re outside.
2. Sometimes to grow the way you want to, you need to weed out the extras.
Weeks ago and with the help of our kids, we planted a line of radish seeds. Before long they had spouted, and we could see how close together they were growing. In order to not stunt the growth of the whole line, we had the kids go through and pick some of the radishes that were too close together.
It felt odd to them to pick underdeveloped radishes. These were good plants, not weeds. But in the long run, we knew it would be best for our little radish crop to weed out some extras and give the remaining plants a bit more room to grow.
Life is the same way. Sometimes you have to weed out influences, people, and activities (even good ones!) to give yourself room to breathe and the ability to grow the way you want to.
You know that point when you think your row is about to be overtaken with weeds? Maybe you missed a weeding session or two and all the sudden it feels as if the weeds are on the verge of overtaking the plants. You have two choices: let the weeds win, or roll up your sleeves and get to work.
I want my kids to know that in life they will regularly come to similar crossroads—key points where it may feel easier to give up than to put in the effort to get where you want to be.
4. Believe that you are capable of hard work.
Watching for those key decision points (like when the weeds are about to overrun your plants) is the first step, but believing that you are capable of doing the work is just as important. A garden gives plenty of opportunities to work.
5. Learn to take great satisfaction from your efforts, not just the results.
In years past, we’ve had a tomato crop that barely produced (due to an usually cool and gray summer) or the one-off plant that just didn’t take. Some things are out of our control. Gardening reminds us that no matter the results, we can head inside at the end of the day and relax knowing that we’ve given it our best care.
On hot days, we like to blend up a smoothie or pour ourselves a tall glass of Tampico orange juice. (Thanks to Tampico for sponsoring this post!) To reiterate this simple lesson to our kids, my husband and I gather our kids around the table and talk about how good it felt to work hard that day.
Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Tampico Beverages. While I was compensated to write a post about Tampico, all opinions are my own.