I’m using the Eng­lish ver­sion of the word ‘gardens’. An Eng­lish gar­den doesn’t just mean a veg­etable patch – it’s the whole thing, flow­ers, shrubs, trees and all.

The Eng­lish word for chil­dren is…children! So that part’s not complicated.

I’ve been attend­ing our local sum­mer land­scap­ing class (good idea to have it inside with A/C at this time of year and at my favourite near­by nature cen­tre). This week’s speak­er was an inter­est­ing plant tax­on­o­mist who was stress­ing how impor­tant it was to plant the right plant in the right place. 

Which start­ed me think­ing about chil­dren — what else?

Whether it’s a child or a plant it needs to be ‘planted’ in the right place and want­ed. The right amount of sun­shine and rain, room for growth and plen­ty of TLC, some­times you need to ‘fertilise’ — add a lit­tle some­thing more to encour­age them along!

But each plant/child needs to be in the opti­mum place (home) to reach its max­i­mum poten­tial. For a plant that means that we should know how big it’s going to be before we choose where to plant it. For a child very often no such plan­ning seems to take place until well after it’s arrived, some­times never!!

Just as we see plants in the wrong place hav­ing to be trimmed to fit the space allowed, so it is today with chil­dren. There does­n’t seem to be much com­pro­mise on the part of a child’s ‘owners’ (par­ents) to allow for opti­mum growth. Thus lit­tle pieces of them are stunt­ed – usu­al­ly their brains! Some can seem to be grow­ing well phys­i­cal­ly and then just like a shrub – they fail to flower (talk).

Usu­al­ly with both chil­dren and plants it’s because they are ‘planted in the wrong place’ (their home life or oth­er loca­tion – day­care — doesn’t pro­vide opti­mum growth) and they ‘don’t receive any fer­tilis­er’ (for chil­dren it would be encour­age­ment and extra input by a car­ing adult).

In just about every case where a plant or child fails to thrive the ‘owners’ have failed to do their job. They just sit back and assume progress will hap­pen with­out their intervention.

It’s just not like that. 

Look at any beau­ti­ful gar­den. It’s tend­ed lov­ing­ly every day. 

Look at any healthy child. He or she is ‘tended’ lov­ing­ly every day.

Be it your gar­den or your chil­dren, tend them dai­ly and they will thrive and bring you so much plea­sure in the years to come. You will remem­ber every nuance of their growth, the time you spent tend­ing them and mar­vel at how won­der­ful they look!

Nur­ture your gar­den and your chil­dren every day and you will have a fine life – I am!