One of my friends once gave me a gift with a note that read: “Plant your own garden; Nourish your soul”. This message extends beyond its literal meaning and can be applied to motherhood, children, and gardening.
At the time, my friend was encouraging me to find and be myself – a message all moms can benefit from hearing and from passing along to their children. Today – even more than ever – we hope our children will find their way through all of life’s distractions. We hope they will take their journey a step further with conscious effort to help sustain life and Earth.
A simple way to introduce children to their stewardship responsibilities is by planting a garden – something my friend did not literally intend when she handed me that gift years ago. The experience of planting and caring for a garden strengthens our children’s abilities to see beyond themselves and may even improve their nutritional habits.
Older children can help out by researching what crops grow best in your part of the world and during what season those crops should be planted. Everyone can help prepare the soil, decide what to plant, plant the seeds, and care for the garden.
Lack of yard space should not stop you. Vegetables and herbs can be planted in above ground planters, indoor pots, or pots on your balcony. The joy of watching something grow and of harvesting that something comes regardless of your planting structure.
You can enhance your garden and teaching efforts with additional activities for your children. Increase pride in the family garden by decorating it, learning about insects that live in the garden, or by hosting a harvest party. Visit a community or botanical garden where your children can get a broader view on growing. Make salsa for your neighbors with the peppers, onions, tomatoes, and cilantro grown in your garden.
Watch your children blossom as they take responsibility of caring for the garden. The growth you observe will be on the outside as well as within. A garden represents life. The miracles and blessings that occur when food grows from the ground is easily shared with children whose eyes are still wide open to the world.
Plant a seed. Nourish a soul. And watch your children grow.