10 Things You Can Teach Your Kids in the Garden

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Lara Casey laracasey.com

I’ve killed a lot of plants in my life. Probably not what you expected to hear from the author of this gardening article, right?

For most of my life, I didn’t understand why people actually enjoyed getting their hands dirty and spending time with plants. It wasn’t until I watched my first seeds sprout, knew the heat of yet another summer watering session, and tasted the first tomato grown in my very own yard that I started to understand: though the fruits of our gardens can be delicious and beautiful, it’s the lessons we learn–about ourselves and the world–that keep us coming back.

And now, with three little ones running around underfoot, it’s the opportunity to pass those lessons along!

I want Gracie, Josh, and Sarah to experience the joy and miracle of growing things–from start to finish!

Gardening has become one of our family’s favorite things to do together–and I think it can be the same for you and your family. 

Today, I’m sharing with you 10 lessons you can teach your kids in the garden that will stick with them long after they’ve moved onto their own plot of land.

1. Good Things Can Grow in Unexpected Places

If we look around us, there is beauty waiting to be discovered where we least expect it—whether it’s a tiny flower growing in the crack of a sidewalk or a new friend at the park. Just think about dirt: who knew such beauty could grow out of something so… brown?

2. Comparison Never Wins

No two gardens are exactly alike–and neither are any two people! Encourage your kids to imagine their life as a garden. It’s unique, purposeful, and unlike any other. They were meant to be just like they are, not like anyone else.

3. Dream Big and Plan Well

One of my favorite things I get to do with my kids is garden dreaming. Gather your kids around the kitchen table and talk about what they want to grow! Tomatoes, sunflowers, zinnias? Encourage them to dream big, but also think through what plants might grow best in the season they’re in right now.

The same lessons transfer to any pursuits they’re considering and dreams they have for their lives.

4. People Need Good Soil, Too

When you plant a garden, the soil is what sustains the life of the plant and provides all the nutrients it needs. This is what allows deep roots to grow. Just like plants, people need nutrients to grow–like fruits, veggies, rest, and friendships.

Talk about the nutrients we need in life!

5. There’s a Season for Everything

Some plants grow better in the fall or spring, and some plants thrive in the summer! People go through seasons, too. Some weeks or months might be hard, and some might feel restful or productive. Seasons are a gift because they allow us to grow and learn new things.

6. Be Patient

The best gardeners don’t rush the process, but know to be patient. The same is true for life. When things don’t go our way, we know God is working even when we can’t see it.

Remind your kids to have patience with the people around them and in the garden–because good things come to those who wait.

7. Good Things Grow Slowly

Just like plants, people grow over time, through little-by-little progress. In this fast-paced world, it’s easy to create unrealistic and unhealthy expectations in our own lives. Slow growth allows for preparation, learning, and room for things that last. 

8. Space Is Good

Plants need room to root and spread out. Just like our lives, if you grow too much in one space, you won’t have enough nutrients to go around. Where could you thin out activities, commitments, or even physical belongings to give your family more room to flourish?

9. Failure Is an Option

Whether you’re an unlikely gardener like me or consider yourself a pro, remind your kids it’s okay to mess up. Some plants may not grow in the soil you choose or be a good fit for the climate.

Failure is okay; it’s what you learn from it that matters.

10. God Can Grow Big Things from the Smallest Seeds

Just look at a pumpkin! A pumpkin starts from a small seed, but after it’s been planted and well-taken care of, it grows into a huge pumpkin! God can take really small seeds and turn them into things that have a lasting impact on this earth–just like He does with people.

At the beginning of my life as a gardener, I had a choice: risk imperfect progress to grow new life or regret not growing anything at all.

And you do, too. I hope you choose growth–and encourage your kids to do the same through these 10 lessons in the garden. 

Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/Comstock

In addition to being an unlikely gardener, Lara Casey is the CEO of Cultivate What Matters and is passionate about helping women get unstuck, unrushed, and living on purpose instead of by accident. Her brand new children’s book, Gracie’s Garden, tells the story of Lara’s three kids as they discover why good things grow slowly–and why we shouldn’t want it any other way.