We spent most of the day assisting my sister with her garden. Naturally, I had no problem assisting (I plan on doing a reflective post on my gardening story soon). But it took some coercion to get my children to help. They primarily helped with cleaning up the backyard/garden area, setting up some new containers, and establishing my sister’s herb area.
I thought about how my daughters have been assisting in gardens (be them indoors or outdoors) since they could hold a hand shovel. Unlike most of their friends, my kiddos were have constantly been around various forms of gardens – the small garden we had on our porch or backyard (prior to NYC living), the community gardens I’ve been involved with, and finally the floral and vegetable gardens for various family members.
It was quite easy when they were pre-tweens for they were inquisitive about the process, the critters, and how a tiny seed became food on the table. Now that they are older I have to dangle some form of carrot or place an ultimatum. Ironically, they seem to enjoy their given tasks after starting. And you know I completely understand, there were moments in my pre-teen/teen years that my grandparents had to demand (putting it nicely) me to do my farm chores. But in the end I cherish those moments of gardening with my loved ones for they established my gardening capabilities. Assisting my loved ones in the garden planted the my desire to have my own garden/farm.
If you have children I encourage you to have them assist in your gardening tasks. Take the time to connect with them on a different level, to allow them to gain insight on the benefits of gardening (for them and the environment), and finally pass along the wisdom of your ancestors.