Three Reasons to Teach Children how to Garden
Kevin Felts 03.28.18
As we race about our daily lives, maybe we should pause and think about teaching our children how to garden.
Food production has been so commercialized, grocery store shelves are rarely out of anything. For the most part, buying food is easier than growing it. In today’s fast paced world, few people have the time to work the soil, plant, care for, harvest and preserve their own food.
Archaeology teaches us our ancestors first started farming around 10,000-13,000 years ago. For our ancestors, raising their own food was probably more reliable than following the herds. Today, food is usually close at hand.
Want a cheeseburger, just drive (or walk) to one of the local fast food places. Need a can of beans? Chances are the local corner store will have some in stock. If not there, surely the grocery store will have some.
What lessons can children learn from gardening?
Where Food Comes From
Ask a child where food comes from. Chances are the answer will be along the lines of McDonalds, the grocery store, or Burger King. All of those answers are wrong.
Food comes from the ground. Everything we eat has its origins in the soil. Even the beef in cheeseburgers was raised on grass and corn that was grown from the ground.
Take time to teach children our lives depend upon the earth, and the soil. Without good healthy soil, humanity has no future. It is our duty to take care of the planet. The lessons we teach our children sets an example for the next generation.
To quote Thomas Jefferson,
Cultivators of the earth are the most valuable citizens. They are the most vigorous, the most independent, the most virtuous, and they are tied to their country and wedded to its liberty and interests by the most lasting bonds.
Teaching a child how to grow a garden also teaches them independence. Gardening teaches them they are not dependent upon the grocery store, or some fast food place.
Gardening also teaches children the importance of work. If they put time and effort into something, chances are they will get something in return. That is how life is. We contribute, and we get something in return, usually a paycheck from our employer.
Patience is in very short supply. Let’s be honest, we have become a culture of instant gratification. Hungry? Just go to McDonalds. Want a new movie on Blue-ray? Go to Wal-Mart and buy it. Some of us are willing to wait two days when we order something with Amazon Prime.
Gardening teaches children the importance of patience.
Several years ago when my children were young we planted some peppers in the garden. One of my kids looked at me and asked, “When do we get to eat it?”
When I told them, “In a month or so,” their expression turned to one of confusion. The following conversation was along the lines of why wait, let’s just go to the store and buy it.
It is our duty to teach children certain lessons. Rather than just telling them the lessons, teach them first hand through gardening.
All good life lessons which will serve them well later in life.