Our letter to parents this month comes from Ms. Susan, Executive Director Toddle Towne Learning Centers
Spring is one of my favorite times of the year. The weather starts to turn warm, the air is fresh and clean, and I look around and see all of the flower gardens blooming. From the time I see the very first crocus in March through the hyacinths and daffodils of April and the tulips and irises of May … I have spring fever! So, the first thing I did when I got a house of my own was to set in flower beds.
In theory … it is very simple to have a beautiful flower garden. In theory … it is also very simple to raise wonderful children. The reality of both is much different. With gardens, all you have to do is plant, water, weed, fertilize, and prune each year. It’s not hard work, in fact I find it rather relaxing. Finding the time … now there’s the real challenge. Similarly with children, all you have to do is feed and bathe the children, “fertilize” their mind with knowledge, “weed out” harmful influences, and “prune” back unwanted behaviors. It’s not hard work in fact it can be relaxing. Finding time … another challenge.
The first thing you do when you start a garden is set up the boundaries for planting. Boundaries for flower beds should not exceed the time and energy you have available. It is much the same with your children. Set consistent limits, however, be careful to pick the things that are important enough to you to justify the outlay of time and energy it will take to enforce them. For instance, if you really don’t care if your child cleans up all the food on his plate at dinner then don’t waste time and energy on a rule that you don’t consider all that important.
Next, plant what you want to grow. I prefer to plant perennials because not only do they bloom every year without replanting they also multiply every year giving you more flowers with less work. Like perennial flowers, some traits in children, when encouraged, begin to multiply and to reoccur even in your absence. If you value independence and you encourage your child to do things for herself as soon as she is capable, soon even without prompting, independence is part of her nature.
To keep a garden beautiful you need to weed. One of the things that has always amazed me is how many times a weed will come back after it is pulled. If you pulled up the flowers like that they wouldn’t come back once much less over and over. Undesirable things in gardens and in children’s behavior will have to be corrected over and over again.
My love for gardening started as I “helped” my parents and grandparents. As a busy parent, you can “kill two birds with one stone” by planting a garden with your child. Time spent with your children in the garden will not only result in beautiful flowers but in beautiful children who feel important, capable, and much loved … ones who will grow beautiful flower gardens with their children.