Growing Up Wild: 4 Things We Learned From Our Spring Garden

“Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.” ~ Lao Tzu

Admiring the divine piece of earth that we call home is my favorite way to spend these late spring days.

It’s taken time and a lot of hard work, but we’re finally enjoying the little garden we’ve always dreamt would feed our bellies and souls season after season. As green-thumb novices, our gardening journey has been filled with epiphanies, challenges, laughter, and love, much like life itself.

This got me thinking about how our gardening days are teaching us so much about our journeys as parents. Because like most plants, if we can only provide our children with the optimal environment, the right nourishment, and the space to become their truest selves, we can witness the beauty of their becoming.

Here are some lessons that have stuck with me lately:

Plant with intention.

It's a beautiful thing to witness your child build their own world rooted in things that give them genuine joy.

We currently have about twelve rows of carrots sown with the (very) specific intention to feed Santa's reindeer, a project spearheaded by our 3-year-old son, Benjamin. He checks on them daily and is quite proud that they are flourishing nicely.

I loved watching him diligently pick out all the carrot seedlings and thoughtfully place them in the ground with a satisfied smile. For him, the focus was all about that reindeer team and ensuring they had what they needed for their holiday flight.

It reminded me so much of how the conversations and experiences we have with our children are just like seeds we plant in their little hearts and minds. When we choose to respond to them with kindness, respect, and love, they can grow confidence, compassion, pride, and self-assuredness.

Know that the fruit (or vegetable) is worth the wait.

One of the beautiful things about gardening is that it requires us to slow down. There’s no way to hurry the process—we get to patiently pause and witness the concept of time, growth, and transformation.

Did you know the last thing to grow on a plant is the fruit? First there is a sprout, then a shoot, then lots of greens, sometimes a flower, and then...the fruit!

As tempting as it may be to try to rush through it, the whole point of tending to the garden each day is to provide the optimal environment so that we can reap a bountiful harvest. It’s true with our kids as well: provide the proper environment and trust them to develop and grow into their best selves on their own terms. Magic takes time.

Embrace trial and error as part of growth.

Here’s the thing about working with nature’s intelligence, you just never know when something will go wrong and a crop won’t produce as you thought it might. This is a great reminder of how important it is to be vulnerable and full of hope and prepare for the best but accept failure as it comes.

As a parent, it’s instinctual to protect our children from things not turning out as they had hoped, but that shouldn’t mean shielding them from taking risks. Letting them fail safely while embracing a healthy view of mistakes teaches them that it’s okay to stumble, because when they take chances and live a bold life, failure is healthy. It’s part of learning.

Believing that the future holds the promise of possibilities and new growth is the first step to making good things happen, and being able to fail well and learn from the experience is a stepping stone to finding your way forward to success.

Prioritize connection.

Connecting with the earth reminds us that we are part of something bigger than ourselves. We treasure our community of friends, and it's so much fun to connect and grow nourishing food side by side. This simple practice allows space for us to share who we are, to let our minds and bodies relax, and to create memories we'll cherish forever.

And as we work together with dirty hands and the sun on our skin and with our children playing happily nearby, we are reminded that if we create the right circumstances and feed ourselves and others with kindness and support, it’s more likely that we’ll grow, together.

So, those are my lessons from this year (so far). How’s your garden growing this year? I’d love to see what you are all sprouting!

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