Spring is finally here! As a gardener, spring is such a rewarding time of year because it is when you finally get to see the fruits of your long, hard labor. Some of that labor may have happened in the fall when bulbs were planted with the hopes of new growth in the spring. And other growth may be more immediate with the planting of established plants in the early months of spring.
With the planting of seeds comes the responsibility of tending to and nurturing those seeds and an understanding that some seeds will thrive while others may not survive.
Parenting is not unlike being a gardener. As parents, it is our job to plant seeds and to tend to them to help them grow. A seed may be representative of an idea or a value we hope to instill in our children. Then, just as a gardener ensures a seed planted receives enough water and sunlight, a parent must ensure that the value shared is supported, nurtured, and modeled. We also need to give our children tools of their own so that they can begin to tend to those seeds.
Often parents feel a sense of frustration or disappointment when it appears that a seed is not growing. When that happens, it can be important to think about three things. One, have you been tending to and nurturing the seed? In other words, have you continued to provide your child with the support, guidance, and means needed to help the seed grow? Two, are you tending too fervently to your seed and giving it too much water and sun. In other words, are you not giving your child enough room to grow? And three, are you remembering that some seeds just take time to grow? As a gardener and a parent, it can be easy to want to see the fruits of our labor on our timeline and to become impatient when growth or change is not occurring. However, some seeds take longer to mature and grow. And, sometimes there are other factors at play in the environment that make growth difficult.
I find this metaphor helpful for parents, especially when they are in the throws of adolescence and they are beyond frustrated with their teen and the fact that they seemingly are not embracing any of the values or goals they hoped they would. My use of this metaphor is to remind them that sometimes their goal is simply to plant the seed and when the timing is right, their child will remember the values and ideas that were planted and nurtured and will begin to tend to them themselves.
If you have a child, think about what are the seeds that you want to plant and in what ways can you nurture those seeds and help you child become their own gardener?