Want to have a lot of fun with the kids you love? Grow a garden together.
Sharing an interest in something green and growing will help to grow your relationship, too.
Plan what to plant together, and keep track of how it grows. Even if you don’t live near one another, you can share your experiences by e-mail, or snail mail, or on Skype, or by taking photographs of what’s happening in your garden and sending them to one another. Ask questions. Volunteer information. Look things up together, either online or at your local library, and share what you find out. Rejoice in one another’s successes, and learn from each other’s mistakes.
If you live close enough to one another to actually share the work of a garden, share the work! Invite the kids you love to help you get the soil ready and plant together. Water, mulch, and cultivate together. Pull weeds together. Keep track of how the garden is doing together. Harvest flowers and vegetables together. Put the flowers on the dining room table, prepare the vegetables, and share a meal together, and enjoy the fruit of your patience and labor – together.
It takes patience to grow a gardener. Kids who are just beginning to garden are almost sure to walk in the wrong places, water the weeds, and pull the carrots out before they’re quite ready, just to check on them. (Seriously, how do you think chefs figured out the value of baby carrots?)
Working together in a garden is one way to encourage the kids you love to appreciate gardening. It’s more than that, though. The conversations you have about gardening – whether they are long-distance or in person conversations – help shape your relationship. And the experiences you share -- having fun together, learning new skills, accomplishing something tangible – nurture the relationship and help it grow.
Watch for more ideas in the days ahead!