Wednesday, February 27, 2008
Even though much of the country is still in winter's grip, February is a time for warm-weather dreams. I am a gardener, and no one dreams like gardeners do this time of year! We spend hours perusing seed catalogs, planning September's harvest, and then planting rows of loamy-scented flats with seed-dreams. Will the garden grow? August will tell the tale. For now, it's all in the dreaming.
When they are born, children are like the seeds of February. They are full of possibility, promise, and hope, with a dash of parental fantasy thrown in for fun. Part of mindful parenting is remembering to nurture their souls, to help them grow into resilient and strong individuals able to withstand the "slings and arrows" of daily life. Ironically, we strive for the human spirit equivalent of tenacious weeds rather than the fragility of hothouse flowers. This year, put some mindfulness in your spring planting. Even if you're not a dirt-loving, grubby fingernails gardener like me, planting something simple with your child and watching it grow can be a magical experience for both of you.
Experienced gardeners can always put a new twist on their routine. Grab your seeds, potting mix and watering can. Find a spot away from the winter winds where your seedlings can grow and thrive until they are ready to be transplanted. Bring along your child. Together, talk about the miracle that is the seed. Explain what the seed needs to grow. Harness your child's imagination, and have her talk to the seed, promising it the care that it needs. Let your child hold it in his hand, and imagine the seed dreaming of summer sunshine. Place it carefully into the soil. Cover it. Water it. Now, bless it.
When I garden with my daughter, blessing the seed is simply a normal part of the process. We pat the soil firmly in place, and whisper a simple, "Bless you and grow!" to our seeds. This simple act connects us to the mystery and miracle that is life. It reminds us that ultimately, we are not in control of the process. We can water our seedlings, shelter them from the worst storms, but in the end the growth is their doing alone.
So it is with our children. We love them, nurture them, shelter them just a little, feed them, and stand in amazement as they grow before our eyes. In the presence of such wonders, what can we do? Hold onto the moment, hug them tight and whisper, "Bless you and grow."
Primal Home column is written through a collaboration with Primal Parenting Magazine. "Gardening as a Lesson in Parenting" is written by Rebecca Hecking, a freelance writer and managing editor for Primal Parenting Magazine. Primal Parenting is a revolutionary new publication seeking to educate and empower families. For more information on Primal Parenting Magazine go to www.primalparentingmagazine.com