Jul 282011

This is a repeat of a favorite attitude adjustment post.  I hope you enjoy it.


My garden never fails me.

For the past couple of weeks, my output at work seems to consist only of bumps, detours, technical failures, a growing to-do pile and a number of opportunities to really embarrass myself. (You may have noticed the lack of blog posts…. or the unfinished ones that I must of scheduled to ‘publish’ instead of ‘save.’) You get the point: not at my best.

I don’t believe in writer’s block but I really don’t like to write when I’m out of sorts. I owe you better. So I gave up and went out to my garden.

I was rewarded with a colander full of luscious, thumb-nail sized blueberries, still warm from the sun. There are so many that the branches are bent.

As I picked off and discarded the dozens that the birds had nibbled, I smiled, thinking back on last month’s “strawberry wars.” Our strawberry bed is just a year old. Per instructions from the landscaping expert, three dozen tender plants were protected with ‘cages’ and surrounded by mulch and covered with a fine mesh net. Strong-smelling soap and moth balls completed the barricade.

Want to guess how many strawberries I harvested? If I said “10” I would be exaggerating. Not ten boxes — ten berries. The chipmunks and the red squirrels got the rest.

A garden or a farm can teach kids all sorts of wonderful things: teamwork, discipline, hard work… There’s the satisfaction that comes when they (literally) harvest the fruits of their labor… and, of course, giving.

Generally, when I think about using the garden to teach our kids to give, I think in terms of sharing the harvest with family, friends and neighbors. The “bountiful blueberries and the stolen strawberries” provided me with another thought, one that will solve my strawberry problem.

I’m going to plant more strawberries — and let the critters have them. That’s right: add more plants and subtract the cages, mesh and other deterrents. Let ’em eat their fill. Don’t worry about protecting the berries. Give up. Give ’em away.

If this approach works in the garden like it does everywhere else in life we’ll have more berries than we can handle. And,if not, it won’t matter — I’ve decided that the sane choice is to enjoy feeding them!

Mar 242010


Sometimes when I facilitate parenting classes we talk about gardening.  Not the gardening metaphors about patience like planting seeds for future growth, or not ripping out our plants to check on their progress but real ‘get-your-hands-and-pants-and-everything-else-dirty’ kind of gardening.

In these groups we often talk about using all kinds of different activities to teach our children and develop their skills.  Parents have told me that they can easily fit the Four Foundations to their gardens:  there’s the hard work of preparing the area, the discipline associated with ‘waiting and weeding’, the adversity that comes with hungry deer or unusual weather patterns… and of course the joy of giving when we have a harvest to prepare and share! (Plus, it’s a great way to save money.)

I’m not an accomplished gardner by any stretch of the imagination….  but I love growing dinner ingredients and sharing them with my friends, so this story caught my eye.  I love the idea…. and particularly Tree’s approach to giving without expecting anything in return.

I hope you enjoy it.