Happy 2019! The Christmas madness is sadly over and in these last few days I have had a chance to start taking stock of what has happened in 2018 and plan for the year ahead.
One thing is clear, I want to go on a journey of discovery with my two little girls to see if I can find some answers to the questions I raised in my previous post and set out below.
What if us adults did not give up teaching our children the joys of gardening even when three months of hard work are wiped out by little ‘not so delicate’ green fingers?
What if gardening was considered a life skill like cooking?
What if children were introduced to it through pretend play the same way they are with other skills?
So in the last couple of days I have started the journey with small baby steps.
My garden is a mess (surprise!) and I could really do with some additional help, so I told my 6 1/2 year old that I was giving her a part of our garden and veggie patch to look after. I am not sure what I am letting myself into but I feel that the only way to get her full attention is to hand over responsibility.
We then sat down and browsed through a gardening magazine, if she is anything like me the planning is far more exciting than the execution….hopefully she is not like me! I asked her to pick a small number of flowers and vegetables that she would like to plant and care for, while sharing with her my plan for the rest of the garden. She is also going to keep a garden diary (a great way to get her to practice writing 😊) to review the things she has done and learn from them. This is definitely something that I should also do!
She was very excited about the whole thing and even mentioning the need to weed and the ‘not immediate’ timeline for seeding and planting did not discourage her. On the contrary, we then went on to spend a good few hours in the garden, she weeded part of her ‘patch’ and helped me with some of the jobs I was doing. I also noticed how she really enjoyed the responsibility of having proper tools rather that the ‘play’ ones. While we were working side by side she asked me if I knew anyone who enjoys weeding…the question made me smile and I did not quite know how to respond. Most rewarding activities require some aspects of ‘tidying or housekeeping’, like prepping vegetables before cooking. These activities are often seen as boring and mundane but in reality they offer time to think (a luxury in today’s busy life) and let go of things that trouble us.
The whole experience so far has been lovely, slightly unsettling and maybe a little unexpected. Maybe the absence of the younger sister and the ‘special mummy time’ made the experience less stressful or maybe the additional responsibility is helping her focus. Only time will tell if my approach will pay off.
'After a couple of hours...'