Looking back into AMKT archives, I found this gem written by my husband about the lessons the garden can teach us. The gardening season is now here and if you have children and are considering putting in a garden for the first time, this may inspire you to do so. Besides the garden’s bounty, beauty, awe and all of the practical lessons it teaches us, Jack shares lessons of the heart related to weeds, sowing and reaping that capture the attention of young and old alike. Feel free to comment.
When our oldest two girls were only 4 and 6 years old they helped me plant a garden one spring. It seemed to be a great idea to get them excited about seeing things we eat actually grow and maybe even teach them a few life lessons along the way. I remember showing them a colorful packet of carrot seeds and asking them what they think we will get if we plant these seeds?
Of course they immediately responded with “carrots”. So I continued to show them different packets of beets, beans and peas, etc. and asking the same question. Feeling pretty confident they answered correctly. So I thought it would be a good time to explain a pretty universal truth…..”What we sow is also what we reap” and this truth applies to every aspect of our life. If we sow kindness we will likely reap kindness in return and so on.
Recently, Amy and I were weeding our garden and I was struck by how many weeds actually look like the vegetables they grew side by side with. This was true no matter which row I was working in…lacy carrot tops, broad leaf spinach or potatoes. My first thought was how did they know which row hid them best as if they had some supernatural intelligence. Actually the obvious ones had been quickly dispatched but copycats lived to see another day. Then I realized that most everything good has a counterfeit to fool the unaware. These look-a-like weeds were an example of how capable these fruitless plants could rob and deplete before they were identified as an enemy and uprooted.
Eventually you do see the difference and the fruit each might bear but not after having spent some time and resources nurturing them for a while. It reminded me of a passage in Proverbs 9 where there were two different voices calling out to the simple and unaware, one being wisdom and the other being folly. The amazing thing was they both looked and sounded similar, but with radically different results. It was the same with our vegetables and weeds in our garden.
Now I grew up gardening so I have learned to discern between the weeds and the real thing but just as I attempted to explain to our children elementary truths of sowing and reaping I realized again the lessons a garden can teach are unlimited and also apply to the choices we make every day.
I have spent far more time than I care to think about nurturing the wrong ideas, goals or purposes, some taking root like weeds in a garden. Successful gardening requires that you identify and destroy the counterfeit early on before they spread their seeds and overwhelm your good intentions. Fortunately; we often get another chance to get it right.
And there you have it…a little wisdom from the gardener himself. Hope you enjoyed it!