I planted an herb garden from seed. I chose a good spot with plenty of sun and found fresh soil and fertilizer. I dug holes and placed seeds deep into the earth and covered them with care. I water a patch of dirt every day, knowing something is under there and I assume beginning to take root. I hope I did everything right, so that pretty soon I will have cilantro, rosemary, parsley, and sunflowers. It’s possible, however, that by the end of the summer, I will still be watering a big patch of dirt.
When I was pregnant with each of my children, I read the book, “What to Expect When You are Expecting,” and kept a pregnancy journal. Every day, or at least once a week, I would turn the page and learn that the bump in my belly was growing toenails and eye lashes and a brain. I ate lots of protein and vegetables, took prenatal vitamins, tried to eliminate stress, and drank tons of water. I tried to do everything right.
Little did I know that once that seed was born, that that was just the beginning.
It was time to grow a person.
Growing a person is a lot like growing a garden. It can’t be neglected, or it will grow wild and be overcome with weeds. It can’t be overly manicured, or it won’t be able to show its full beauty. It needs to be rooted in good earth. It needs room to grow. It needs time and patience, and the belief that there is something there that will bloom, even though you can’t see it.
I think we parent/gardeners put a lot of pressure on ourselves to do everything right; to provide everything our children need so they won’t struggle and will only succeed.
The only way to grow a person is to step back and let them struggle. You are right there, watching them work through whatever challenge they are facing and there is nothing you can do, because the only way to grow, is to struggle. That is dark side of parenting nobody warns you about.
You will not do everything right, because dear one, you are still growing too. It would be behoove us to remember that there is a Master Gardner at work on all of us.
Let the seeds take root. Let the sun do its work. Let the rain come. Pay attention. Stand back, be patient, and watch them grow.