Have you ever felt that the time has come where our children and the current adult generations are losing sight of crafts? Our grannies made the best cakes, knitted jerseys and doilies that fit over tea-pots. They hand-stitched and crocheted entire tablecloths and baby garments, and could darn a sock in a sec. The hand-made jellies and jams, syrups and creams and various other concoctions that flew out of the kitchen were just what granny did!
Similarly, our forefathers had an inherent understanding of how to plant food and how to grow food. They had thriving gardens full of hand-propagated plants, and those wise hands carried plentiful experience and knowledge.
Granted, we are growing and aging up in different times. Hardships, war, the Depression, and other factors have churned the elder generations into those who learned skills out of necessity. Now, we head to YouTube to watch a tutorial on how do pretty much anything, and the choice is overwhelming. We are still learning, but the learning is centred around hobbies and passions instead of necessary skills.
Why is it important to raise your child to be a gardener?
Did you know that by 2030 the Earth’s temperature is set to increase by 2 degrees Celsius? This incredibly significant change will set off even more environmental instability, with a ripple affect of water shortages, droughts, floods, erratic weather patterns- in general a very skewed weather change. We are already experiencing the devastation globally of the changing El Nino and La Nina weather patterns.
When we teach our children the importance of nurturing a garden, we teach them to understand life on a small scale. When we show them that the soil is full of living creatures, which in turn support the plants in the soil, they begin to understand micro-climates. When we introduce knowledge, in manageable tidbits, we expand their minds.
Growing Food and Growing Mindsets
Kids are like sponges. Not only do they soak up information, but they can become saturated. Feeding them the right information to help them become knowledgeable about their worlds, is the best thing we can do for them. Teaching them to grow a few basic herbs and salad greens is an amazing tool. When we cultivate in them the understanding that they have the power and know-how to grow their own food, this opens doors to them one day following a path of similar undertakings.
There is a Proverb that reads- Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is older he will not depart from it. This is a powerful mantra for parent-figures to adopt, especially in the ways of the world, and in the ways of nature.
Not every child has a green thumb- indeed not all parents have green thumbs. These things can’t be forced and really shouldn’t be. But if that passion exists, it’s only a good idea to nurture it. What better inherent passion to have, than that of growing and nurturing living things?
As Beth Ricci from Red & Honey explains, she didn’t have a specific plan in place to make her kids start to appreciate gardening. “But it happened naturally in the course of togetherness, which really is the key to sharing and learning…doing things together.”
The obvious and most beneficial side effects of having children that love the outdoors, is their fine-motor skills are enhanced, and they develop patience. They learn to understand that little steps in nature take time. (like watching a seed grow, or waiting for a flower to open)
The long term benefits include having forward-thinking adults who plant and grow food, who develop food forests, who convert grass into farmland, who can turn a dull patch of land into a blooming flower field. They understand ecology, the significance of rare resources like water, and the importance of harvesting seeds.
Where do we start?
Some very basic steps can be taken to develop this love for gardening:
Spend time reading together:
If the book is all about an animal or character who gardens, all the better. Nurture the carer in your children, and they will learn to emulate that care in their own worlds. Season-dependent, their little vocabularies will brighten and enlarge to include words that usually describe gardening scenarios. Magazines, grocery pamphlets, newspapers and other print is also useful to spend time doing this.
Identify produce together:
When spending time in malls or markets, identify fruits, vegetables, flowers or other items you may have read about in books or in magazines. This tangible activity makes something that you’ve read about, come alive in a little brain. This association is key in helping them identify the very things you want them to grow to love.
Make every experience a learning experience:
Introduce experiences that enforce learning- in a subtle way. Get hold of some educational DVD’s or musical CD’s and find the educational shows on TV. Kids adore singing and doing talent shows for each other- and they will be learning in the process.
Show the kids what flowers and insects are, and how these things are part of our world, and what their jobs are. You don’t need to get technical at all, or complicate things. But speaking to them about what’s going on in their world benefits them.
Share the duties:
A lot of responsibility can be learned when children are given household chores from an early age. In a similar vein, when kids are given the little duties of watering the kitchen herbs or taking the scraps to the compost heap, they learn the importance of a) helping out mom and dad and b) chores, and helping out. Don’t rush them- teach them (and yourselves) patience, and the value of doing things slowly and properly.
What better teacher of patience than a garden?
See the value in slow growth
Not slow growth in the garden- some plants become overgrown overnight! But the value in slow learning, being able to show the development of a plant, or the delicate construct of a spiders web. The value of a vegetable grown from seed to fully grown edible! The value of a bees nest- with all of it’s intricate types of bees, each with their own responsibilities. Everything good in nature takes time. A cave is not built in a day, but carved by water over hundreds of years of pressure and force.
And so this is how your child will become a gardener. Slowly, and with many hurdles. Most likely a good few splinters, lots of muddy clothes, some plasters, a bit of after-sun when all parties neglect the sunscreen. Throw away rules and enforcements and rather nurture the interest and passion. This is how a deep love beckons and grows. We hope that you really do end up raising gardeners. For all of our sakes.
We have a Reely easy solution:
Reel Gardening is a perfect product to introduce to your child, to begin the process of growing vegetables, flowers and herbs. They have fantastic easy-to-understand box packs with selected herbs and veggies for various garden applications, like salad packs or companion planting. They even have kiddie-specific options, which is amazing!
Have a look in the Seeds section near Inside Info at Lifestyle Home Garden, to take a look at the wonderful selection, and to check out the beautiful hanging planters which can be used to grow all your veg in, in balcony and rooftop spaces!
Is your child a gardener?
Is your off-spring the type that accompanies you to lifestyle to buy plants? Do your nieces/nephews love to be in the garden? Are you raising gardeners? We would love for you to tag them on Instagram using the hashtags #raisinggardeners #lifestylehomegarden and #lifestylekidskorner
Have you read our Kids Korner post all about getting your kids into the garden? Read it |HERE|