I am not just talking about how a garden can give us a creative outlet or a place to relax after a busy day. Those are wonderful aspects of having a garden and they certainly help to enrich our lives.
But I am talking about how a garden can teach us valuable life-lessons – Things that make us a better parent, spouse, friend. I was thinking about this the other day.
Here are the top eight things my garden has taught me:
1) Letting go. I have learned to nurture a tiny seed, guide its initial growth into “adulthood” and then I had to just let it go. This is something I also struggle to do everyday with my children.
2) Nothing ever goes exactly as planned. I can design and plan how I want my garden (or my children) to grow up. But I must also come to terms with the fact that nature has its own plan.
3) Appreciate the small surprises along the way. An unexpected bird nest or a volunteer plant discovered in the garden is always a welcome surprise. It helps me look for the little surprises in my daily life such as an unexpected hand squeeze while crossing the street with my youngest son or a wink from across the dinner table from my oldest son. The little things matter.
4) Patience. When it comes to raising children, every parent knows the value of patience. The patience I have developed while waiting for a plant to flower or a garden design to come to fruition has served me well.
5) Humility. Who hasn’t made mistakes while gardening? Learning to humbly accept our mistakes, take responsibility for them and move on is a valuable lesson. It is never easy, but practicing humility on plants is a good start.
6) Find an outlet for your aggressions! We all need to vent our frustrations. It is much better to take my aggressions out on a patch of weeds than to lose my temper with my family. When I am feeling tense, I can rip and tear at the weeds until I feel better. It is so satisfying to tear something out by the roots! It is very therapeutic!
7) Guide by example. By taking care of own garden plot I am modeling behavior for my children. I can only hope that they will also grow up to be stewards of the earth. I also feel that by taking better care of the earth, I am helping to preserve it for future generations.
8) Nothing is forever. Sometimes I get hung up on where to place a plant or how to design an area. Then I remember that I am not laying things out in stone or cement here! The garden can and WILL change just like our lives change. Instead of fretting over the details, I need to enjoy the moment and know that tomorrow, it all changes..again.
Has your gardening or another favorite hobby taught you any life lessons? Has it made you a better person, a better spouse or friend? Think about it and post your thoughts!
For another Garden Fresh post in the “Soothe The Soul” category, go to: