Be a Gardener

Last month we talked about Steve Rinella and his perspective on how gardening can be a wonderful means to teach your kids about life.

“1. Through our actions, we have the power to make things thrive.

2.  Neglect is deadly.”

Of course, this is an equally good way to remind you of your goal as a parent, as the writer Alison Gopnik has also touched on in her work, contrasting harmful methods of parenting (helicopter, snowplow, etc) with this exact metaphor. You don’t need to build your kids like a carpenter, she writes, you cultivate them like a garden. You give them what they need to thrive and you pay attention, but you are never the one doing the work. They are. You are setting them up for success, but they are the ones who want to be successful…biologically, it’s in them.

So take a minute today to think about how, exactly, you have involved yourself in the growth and trajectory of your kids’ lives. Are you piecing them together like IKEA furniture? Are you plowing the path in front of them and watching over them? Or, like Rinella and Gopnik suggest, have you prepared the field that is the world, planted the seeds of curiosity, watered them with books and experiences, and shone light down on them with the warmth of your love?

If it is the latter, be proud. Because what is bound to grow up before you is a bounty that will sustain you for the rest of your days.

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