In my home, there are these three little wooden boxes in the backyard.
5 feet by 5 feet of dirt-filled wonder.
Each spring, we pour over seed catalogs and think about what we want to grow that year.
My two sons get so excited at the thought of getting their hands dirty and just getting to watch the life that comes forth from our garden. They delight in the fact that they will get new bug visitors to the garden and that they will get to see new and exciting things.
As we get ready this spring to plant our garden, I began to realize just how many things it teaches my children.
Life lessons from the garden
Things come and things go
Obviously, the life cycle will happen before the eyes of your children. That tiny seed or plant grows into something that produces fruit or vegetables, and then those that have seeds you can then plant to perpetuate life. And naturally, at the end of the season, they will see the plant wither and ultimately be composted, thrown away, or die. It’s a great illustration of how the life cycle works and provides a great way to talk about life and death.
Patience is a virtue
One of the things my children have always had the hardest time dealing with in regards to our garden is waiting for the plants to grow and eventually produce something that we can. The anticipation of the wait can be so hard, but it is so satisfying when the wait is finally over and you get to eat that first pick of the year. That’s when my boys realize that the wait was worth it and that they had an exercise in patience.
Good things take work
Let’s face it– gardens are not usually easy to keep. If you don’t put the work into keeping the garden, it will quickly become overgrown and hard to control. You will lose plants, the weeds will take over, and ultimately, the garden just becomes a big old mess. By doing the hard work, the watering, the weeding, and the tending, the garden stays neat and produces. It shows that you can achieve great things with hard work!
You can’t plan everything
Even with the careful planning of the garden, you can’t control everything. You can’t control if a plant becomes diseased or if an evasive bug decides to move in. You can’t control if there is too much rain or too little. And you definitely cannot plan for a derecho to come in and drop half a tree on your garden (which happened to us last year). Even with hard work and planning, things will sometimes not go your way, and that is okay. You just take those lessons and apply them to your life and move forward.
As we get ready to start putting those seedlings in the ground, I can’t wait to see what other lessons from the garden my children and I will learn this year.
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