Working in the garden is one of the most rewarding jobs on the farm. It requires a lot of devotion and hard work but the payoff can be priceless. For me, garden work begins with planning what plants I want to grow. After that, finding the best place to buy heirloom, organic, non-gmo seeds. Then I begin mapping out our garden space and figuring how to best utilize each area. Once the planning is done and the time of year is right, it moves on to physical work from mental work.
We like to involve our children in everything we do on the homestead as much as possible. They learn many valuable lessons from the different aspects of farming. I have found the garden to be one of the richest avenues for teaching them. In the garden we’ve taught them about patience, giving and sharing, working hard, and many other life lessons.
For us, teaching our kids a genuine work ethic is very important. It is not only about teaching them how to do jobs, but to do them to the best of their ability. They need to put their hearts into it and take pride in their work. If you go about a task half-heartedly, your end result will not be the quality that it should be. It is also about teaching them to do a job thoroughly, from start to finish. Most jobs begin with careful planning of how you should go about your tasks. Planning the garden out well before it is time to plant is crucial to the outcome of your garden. You have to know what grows best in your zone, when each seed needs to be planted, what plants are compatible with each other, what pests to expect and how to avoid or deal with them, and the best place to source your seeds.
It is very important for children to learn that most good things in life are the result of putting forth a valiant effort. Nothing is free in life and if you just hand your children everything they need and want without requiring anything of them they will be ill equipped for succeeding in life as an adult. I’m not saying all work and no play. I strongly believe that children need a lot of time for playing. In fact, I think that they learn best when they are at play. I’ve also learned from my kids that some of the things that I view as work is more like play to them. I mean, digging in the dirt and burying things is about as fun as it gets for a child.
After all of the hard work, then we have to wait for our results. Patience is hard work for kids (and adults too). When your child goes out to the garden and sees that first tiny plant peeking through the soil, they get so excited. They learn the work of nurturing something so that it can grow to be the best “it” can be. And when they can finally harvest from their efforts and literally taste the fruit of their labor they truly appreciate the value of their work. I think this is one of the most valuable lessons that we can teach our children. They learn to work hard and expect to see great results from it. This will help them to be confident that they can do anything in their life that they put their hearts and minds to.
“For even when we were with you, we commanded you this: if anyone will not work,
neither shall he eat.” II Thessalonians 3:10
More posts like this: