Saturday, July 23, 2011

how does your garden grow

I found this excerpt from a local garden website. I thought it was interesting in how it relates to both gardening and parenting.

Learning By Doing

“Most of the gardening classes… have hands-on-learning opportunities and requirements. For most beginning gardeners this is not enough. One of the best ways to learn gardening is to join a community garden that works at a convenient time in a location near you. There are more than 150 in the Houston area stretching from Galveston to Magnolia. Many are at schools. You can help start a community garden so that your community can learn.¬†When you garden with others, you can learn from them. Gardening is rewarding, and the more you know the more rewarding it gets.”

Watching other parents at work can often give you good ideas to implement in your own home. Some may work well with your own kids, some may not, but it sure helps seeing other parents raising their kids. If nothing else, at least we know we are not alone in our struggles.

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Sunday, May 17, 2009

how does your garden grow?

I have been wanting to put in a backyard garden again. But I just can’t seem to get the motivation I need. In reading about how to best do this, I was reminded that starting small is crucial. Parenting is the same. When we notice our children growing, we know we cannot tackle every character flaw or habit at once. It is too overwhelming for us as well as them. We can work slowly and steadily on one habit at a time, instilling the basic values and lessons needed to train the child to grow in the way that we want them. As a garden is easier to work with on a small scale, so is the garden of our children’s hearts. Remembering that our children’s growth is a life long learning process will help us avoid becoming overwhelmed in our duties as our child’s gardeners.        
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Sunday, April 26, 2009

topsy turvey

I’ve been seeing ads lately for a “topsy turvey tomato grower”. It is an interesting concept. The tomatoes grow down from a planter. In a home growing teens, our world is often topsy turvey. It can be daunting seeing the kids grow in unusual ways. It causes worry and concern when things don’t seem to be happening as they “should”. It can be unnerving when seeing other kids around not appearing to go through some of these topsy turvey situations.

But as the topsy turvey tomato grower claims to cause the tomatoes to grow better, more full, a topsy turvey adolesence can add some fullness and strength to a teen’s life. When I see the struggles my son is going through in this time, I can only wonder what the Master Gardener has planned for him. Just how full and strong will he be as he bears fruit in his life?

Although it hurts, I know in my mind that a little topsy turvey is important to face and overcome.

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Tuesday, March 24, 2009


watering-”The amount of water you give the plants in your garden is so crucial to their healthy growth. Watering too much or too little can harm your plants, and some of the harm may be irreversible.” —taken from the safer brand website

While reading about watering plants, I was hit by how similar it is to raising children. The safer brand website (linked above) gives some good advice about when to water plants. Gardeners are advised that a few minutes of surface watering are not enough. Plants must be watered in such a fashion that the water seeps to the roots. This is obvious in our children’s lives as well.

Just instructing them on the surface level rarely works, at least not long term. For them to internalize something, to take it to root in their life, they must have proper instruction that reaches down deep. When they are young, this is needed more often, as with newly planted plants. As they establish however, watering plants once a week is sufficient. We can see the parallel in our children. As they grow, they do not need the constant reminders they needed when they were younger. However, as with plants, over-watering can also cause damage and stunted growth.

I have found this to be true in both experiences-in gardening and in raising my kids. I definitely have a tendency to over-water. It is recommended that once plants are established, watering in the morning  or evening is best. This is to prevent the heat of the day from causing evaporation. I can see how this fits into our routine nicely. After a long day in the heat of life, coming together as a family is refreshing. But only when I don’t tend to drown them with my over-watering techniques. As with plants, allowing them to sit too long in too much water will only cause fungus to germinate and thrive.

Perhaps beginning and ending the day with quietness and refreshing words would be an added help in allowing our children to grow into the healthy plants they are destined to be.

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Tuesday, March 3, 2009


“Planning for planting next year’s garden actually begins after harvesting the current year’s crops. Removing old plant debris and tilling the soil are two steps towards next year’s garden.”

-from the Safer Brand website

In raising children, we often find ourselves muddling through. They don’t come with pre-packaged instructions, and there are no one-size-fits-all instructions to suit each child’s individual needs. But when we learn our children and watch their growth patterns and learning styles, we can better plan for the road ahead. Using general guidelines and applying them to our particular children can help us as parents to develop a parenting plan. As with planning for next year’s garden, we will do a better job if we start today. If we see our child catching onto a lesson that has been taught, we can see that now is the time to begin preparing the road for the next life lesson which usually comes sooner than we think! If we are prepared, then the lessons won’t be as tough as they might could be. We can see as with plants, if we remove the debris of old, unwanted habits and begin tilling the soil of our children’s hearts and minds, the upcoming lessons can be weathered with little heartache and a steady, sturdy growth.

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Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Sterilized Soil

STERILIZED SOIL — A rather misleading term, as steam- or chemically sterilized soil is only partially sterilized. Harmful organisms have been killed but helpful bacteria have been spared.

In reading this definition, it really struck me as what parents do for their children. We want to protect our children from things that will harm them. But at the same time, we want them to experience life in such a way that they will grow from it. What this means is that they will have to undergo trials and hardships that will stretch them as people, will cause them to think and solve problems. We want them to grow into healthy adults who will contribute to society. If we shield them from every potential thing that might provide discomfort or be perceived as negative, we do them a great disservice. They lose their hardiness, their ability to withstand the storms that life inevitably brings. We do well to remember that in providing our children with sterilized soil, we do not kill the things that will bring about healthy growth.

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Thursday, January 29, 2009


SPORT — A plant which shows a marked and inheritable change from its parent; a mutation.

Often parents want and expect their children to be “just like them” in almost every way. But a child is a separate person, one who will make his/her own choices about everything in life, including how much s/he wants to imitate his/her parents.

We recently asked our kids what makes kids choose to be like their parents or not to be like their parents. Basically, they said that it is up to the individual child. If they value what the parent values, they will likely want to be the same. Otherwise, they will reject the ideal and choose to live in a different way.

This has recently been illustrated well by Shelly and Merry . Our kids are their own people and will choose to live their own way, whether that means rejecting things like meatballs or racism, it is ultimately up to them to decide how to live out their own ideals and values.

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Saturday, January 3, 2009


AERATION – The loosening of soil by digging or other mechanical means to allow air to pass freely.

It seems most often that teens are not willing to talk about stuff that is bothering them. I know with my own son when things get tough, we sometimes have to dig around for information. It seems that once we do a little digging, the air can be cleared and feelings can be soothed and problems can be faced and worked on. Sometimes things just hurt and they will for a while, but by aerating the situation and allowing these grievances to be aired out, it allows for the air to be cleared and for time to help the healing begin.

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Friday, December 19, 2008

what? when?

Today on our homeschool message board, there was a request to find out what could be planted in a vegetable garden in our area between now and February. I think this is a good question to ask about in raising our children too.

When thinking about what to plant in the garden of our children’s hearts, and when, it can be confusing. I think the child himself is a good indicator of when the soil of his/her heart is ready for certain ideas and lessons. This is often communicated by questions the child asks and behaviors s/he exhibits. I also think that being in different situations and around lots of different people brings up “teachable moments” that allow us to plant new (or reinforce old) ideas, values, and things to think about and grow on. These times are perfect for communicating ideas and lessons for our child to grow with. Though we have no gardening book to tell us just what to plant and when to plant it in our children, there are general guidelines to watch for. And knowing our children and listening to what they are asking is a big help to us as parents in knowing what to plant in their hearts and minds and when it is the “right” time to do so.

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Monday, November 24, 2008


tendril-The twisting, clinging, slender growth on many vines, which allows the plant to attach themselves to a support or trellis.

As kids grow, they naturally pull away from their family. But when tough times come, parents may see the small tendrils their children still have clinging to the support they have known at home. It is amazing the storms and trials kids go through these days, but having a support at home helps them to remain stable and strong while they are still developing. If kids can keep those tendrils in tact, they can continue to feel the support offered by their family well into their maturing years. The support can help them stay grounded when the storms and winds of life blow. They may not be as attached as they once were, but those tendrils back to home will provide enough support to the growing child that they can make it through.

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