Another busy weekend approaches with my two children, so I mentally prepare for the activities--my daughter's volleyball practice, my son's Science Club meeting, and a trip to the grocery store--and that's just Saturday. What I need to do is garden. My yard is overdue for fresh flowers, and my soul needs gardening meditation. When did I last shop for garden plants?
Make It A Family Affair
As parents today, we over-plan our free time and over-accept social invitations. What happened to the times when we were young? We would look forlornly at our mom and dad and, with complete sincerity, utter the words, "There's nothing to do." Our gaming systems have stolen our ability to daydream. Maybe our smartphones make it too easy to text "yes" to every birthday party invitation. We need to remember how to give our children some quiet time. I pondered this as we drove around town.
Sunday morning came, and I looked upon my neglected yard from the kitchen. It then dawned on me. What did I crave most for my children and myself? We needed an old-fashioned, stay-at-home-with-nothing-to-do day. This lasted only a short time as sibling bickering began halfway through pancakes. Instead, I told them to wear old clothes and meet me outside to get dirty. They complained at first with images of hard labor, but once I pulled out the small shovel and plastic rake, plus some trimming shears for me, it was pretty simple. Although they were "working" in the garden, they were also playing with snails, digging their hands into the dirt, pouring water on each other, and laughing, not to mention working up a sweat.
Make It A Family Affair
Next, we bought garden plants, colorful flowers, and cool-weather vegetables. It would be enriching for them to watch something grow from a tiny plant to a mature vegetable. They would eat that meal knowing they made it happen with their own hands. That potato would be the best potato they had ever tasted.
We hurried home to plant our garden, using compost to nourish our new plants. The purple daisies immediately brightened the yard, but the tiny vegetable plants disappointed my children. In these times of instant gratification, waiting for vegetables to grow is disappointing. Nevertheless, this was a learning experience for them and a cherished moment for me as I shared my love of gardening and the outdoors. We are still waiting for a bumper crop, but anticipation is good for the soul.