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The first chapter in On Becoming Toddlerwise provides a great analogy of parenting to gardening.
A gardener is “…neither the creator nor its architect.” “He does not create the bloom, or the petal, or the stem that produces the petal.” “He cannot…make it more beautiful.” (all on page 11).
“The gardener, however, knows the environment. He knows the right amount of sunshine and moisture required for the unfolding of every blossom.” “…he is the nurturer of the life placed before him” (all on page 11).
Like a gardener over his garden, as parents, we are in charge of the nurture and care of our children. We can help them become the best versions of themselves they can be. We can’t turn a daisy into a rose, but we can nurture that daisy to be the best daisy it can be. If we are fertilizing strawberries, we don’t try to give it a combination for tomato plants.
I love my vegetable garden, but being that I am relatively young, I naturally have a lot to learn about gardening. In the quote from the book, the gardener knew just when to do what with the plant and just what it needed. That will be true over time, but it definitely takes time and experience to get to that point of knowledge. I find that to be true of parenting, also. I am a much more knowledgeable parent than I was nearly 7 years ago.
Just like with gardening, I find it valuable to read books on parenting to increase my knowledge base. I find it valuable to talk to parents who have been there and have experience on the subject when facing new situations.
When I think of gardening, I also think of how different each plant is and that different plants require different planting times, amounts of water, amounts of sun, spacing, etc. Even if we are expert Zucchini growers, a new type of plant like Cauliflower might require some different techniques.
There are some great lessons to be learned from gardening that can be applied to parenting. We nurture the child for who he or she is. We learn how best to parent over time, and we look to those with more experience than we on that topic to gain their knowledge. We can’t treat every child the same because each child is unique and might need different things than siblings. We can learn a lot from nature!
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