Jan 21, 2018 | Nina
I’ve always struggled to accept and meet the needs of my young children. Two boys just 13 months apart with big personalities (and a whole lot of feelings) and a baby girl that has sass and is ready to rock at 5am each day. I have often lamented about how intense and non-stop it is with my kids. There is never, ever a shortage of things that need doing or people that need helping.
In the last few years I have also been gardening, trying to grow fruit and veggies for my family to eat. I bought seedlings and planted them out and it was so wonderful to see them grow and enjoy some of the produce! Last year I wanted to grow from seed, I figured that is the way all plants start off so I should try to do the same! I spent hours and hours researching what I wanted to grow and noted down all the information about how much sun it should have, what kind of fertilisers to use and potential pest problems etc.
But first thing’s first – planting the seed. Well, I put it in the pot according to the directions, in the month laid out according to my research and then I waited hopefully, like a kid at Christmas, for my plant to shoot up and start getting tall, full leaves. I waited. And I waited. A cute little shoot appeared and I’d never been so happy but then, that was it. The little shoot just stayed there, no bigger than my little finger.
So, I contacted a friend of a friend who has been gardening from seed and asked 1000 questions. With all the information he shared, one thing was clear – this stage of growing is so incredibly fragile and important.
I had simply put the seed straight into the soil that was in the pot but to nurture good growth you need a special potting mix made just for seedlings. It’s best to grow them in seedling trays and cover them with a lid or plastic and even then put them in a greenhouse or shadehouse and only mist them, not heavily water them. The list goes on.
I couldn’t help but think how our pre-schoolers are like these seeds. They need so much from us, so much careful, meticulous care that takes time and effort. You can’t just throw them in the pot and expect them to shoot up into this perfect plant that bears wonderful fruit. No, you have to lightly mist them and make sure they get just enough sunlight – not too much but not too little. Then one day when those seedlings are ready they can be planted out into the garden. You will still water and care for them, although they will grow more independently now. The time that you spent nurturing them in that fragile early stage, frustrating as it may have been, has prepared them to grow big and strong.
So many of our days are spent showing our children the best way to be – things that even we struggle with; patience, kindness, sharing, forgiveness. Over and over again we correct them and steer them in a better direction – it can be thankless and exhausting. I’d go as far as to say it can even seem pointless (I mean how many times do they really need reminding to say please or to share!)
It is easy to forget so let me remind myself, all of this is preparing them to be their own little plant in this big, wide world and to that end I must press on and nurture even when it hurts.