I learned that Krishna loves hiking and its unexpected adventures. We also discussed gardening and found yet another common thread – as children, we both were given the gift of getting dirt under our fingernails by working in the garden – Krishna with his father and me with my Godfather. Though years have passed since our childhood days, we both agreed that working in the garden provides tranquility and a sense of accomplishment that continues to feed our passion.
I came away from that meeting with the realization that teaching a child to place a seed in the soil is a treasure they will carry throughout life. A child will recognize a garden as a place to “get grounded” when life otherwise becomes complicated. They learn the magic of watching seeds sprout into vegetables or beautiful flowers. Gardening also teaches them to have patience, to wait for that miracle to develop. The period from seed to sprout is a precious time when spent with loved ones as the garden is tended, watered and cultivated. A child will grow to understand that the land can sustain them if they learn to foster a healthy environment. In my opinion, the rewards of teaching a child about gardening are worth more than the greatest of riches.
I spoke to my son last night about the value of teaching children to garden since he fathered six of the nine beautiful grandchildren in my life. I didn’t want them to grow up without experiencing this treasure. He informed me that while he appreciates a beautiful garden and loves to be surrounded by nature, it is not his passion to create or tend a garden. After much thought, I realized that we did not share the same experience. His chores fell to the grueling jobs of weeding the garden and carrying the “compostables” to the far reaches of the property. Due to the lifestyle we lived when he and his sister were children, they missed the thrill of toddling out into the garden with a loved adult and being shown how far down to push the seeds on the tips of their tiny fingers and to water and nurture the soil. This ritual that I treasure was missing in their lives. Our conversation made me realize I failed to share that gift with them!
After talking with Krishna and then with my son, I now wonder if the passion develops from the act of gardening when we were little, or from the person we were with at the time. May I offer a suggestion? If you have any little children in your life, take the time to show them the long-lived treasure that comes with gardening. I guarantee, you will be planting a deep-“seeded” memory.