TRAIN UP A CHILD
I love this picture. It shows a mother’s inclusion of the immature gardener. Sure, the three year old isn’t going to do everything right. However, “TRAIN UP A CHILD in the way he is bent, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” -an old proverb Furthermore, teaching your child skills and a work ethic will help them in the future. Patiently, the mother is training up her child at his level, teaching him how to plant onion bulbs. I can hear the reader say, “I don’t have the patience!” Don’t we discipline ourselves to develop patience for what is important?
When children want to help in the garden, this is the time to have projects handy where they can accomplish a simple task. Keep small containers handy at the edge of the garden. Scooping up soil and filling up containers is quite fun for youngsters. Give them old seeds they can plant. Depending on their age and interest in gardening, the child will be curious and motivated to watch their own seeds develop. Certainly, plants that receive more attention from the young gardener will live. Consequently, plants that receive no attention will die. Hence, a great lesson at little expense. What matters is that they are happy when performing the task. The bonus is that they will learn how much care a little plant needs.
RELATING WHILE TRAINING
At the moment when children want to help at any task, do all that you can to let them. This is education and true parenting. All my children could cook a little, clean, do their own laundry and weed at eight years old because they were given small tasks at a young age that they could succeed at. Being able to distinguish weeds from plants at an early age was educational as well as helpful to me. Mostly my children wanted to talk and have a conversation with me in the garden. This is education at its highest level. Chatting about allegories of gardening and life is mind building. In the garden conversations happen; often communication is at a very deep level.
Will your children always want to help in the garden? Absolutely not! However, whether they want to or not, continue to teach them as they grow up. Assign daily 30 minute gardening chores. This teaches responsibility and gives them skills when they leave home.
TRAIN UP A CHILD INTO A RESPONSIBLE ADULT
Many house sitters want someone to be able to water their gardens while the sitter is there. Imagine your son or daughter as that sitter. Train up a child through gardening. Think about what you have done for them. They know about watering a garden, what the plants need and most likely will pick a few weeds. You have taught your child skills and a work ethic; this is lacking in today’s pampered generation. Imagine the home owners coming back to a healthy garden. Your child will be most noteworthy in their minds; they have observed a responsible, skilled young person that has gone above and beyond. This results in a great recommendation on a resume.
–Karen Moilliet July 1, 2020