Everyday we want to plant a seed: a seed of hope, a seed of joy, a seed of inspiration, a seed of love, and sow a seed to grow for flowers and food.
A child finds a ladybug in the garden and gently returns her to our tomato plants. The child is careful, gentle, and handles the tiny friend with kindness and empathy.
While practicing nature studies and Waldorf-inspired/ReggioEmilia-inspired pedagogy our environment is always constructed as a third teacher. Everything and every place offers a learning experience. The light, the color, the arrangement of furniture, the sounds, and the feelings. Every day as a part of our learning and life, we try to plant some seeds. We like to plant a seed of hope, a seed of joy, a seed of inspiration, a seed of love, a seed from flowers and food.
A seed of Hope
Each day we try to think of one thing we can do that will inspire hope and peace in our lives. Even something as simple as writing a card to a loved one, sending photos of flowers to our grandmothers, giving a donation to the local free foster closet, or drawing rainbows, hearts, and flowers on the sidewalk in chalk. Anything that can make someone smile and encourage others that tomorrow will be bright is something we want to do every day.
A seed of Joy
Joy can come in all forms and occur in the smallest, most simple actions. We enjoy cooking, baking, drawing, coloring, telling jokes, playing music, and making plays or creating a circus. Squishing on the couch and reading a book out-loud is one of our favorite ways to spark joy. Ways in which we can make connection, share a piece of ourselves, and interact with others on a personal level can spark a feeling of joy, even in times of despair. We all just want to be seen, heard, and acknowledged.
For me, I have found joy and satisfaction while volunteering at the Rodale's Founder Farm down the street from my home. Working on the farm in the morning has been very therapeutic. I enjoy getting dirty, working hard, and learning about farming and gardening from knowledgeable sources. It is something for me to look forward to each week and it is nice because of the flexibility of volunteering, I can go any time that I have an hour or two to spare but I am sure to go at least once a week.
A seed of Inspiration
Lately, we have started a game where one of my children will make some marks on a paper or the sidewalk and I will then create a drawing or picture from what they have started. We are practicing working together and using each other's creativity as inspiration. We have also been spending a lot of time volunteering on art projects around our town as a way to inspire each other and inspire others around us to appreciate public art.
A seed of Love
What is love? Let's not overcomplicate things here. For us, love is showing up with your heart and your senses. Listening with your eyes, ears, body, and heart. Tending, caring, showing empathy, taking the time to respond instead of react, thinking of others in a kind way, all of these are examples of love. The other day after a funeral, we took all the flowers to the next door neighbor because her husband was diagnosed with a terminal condition. When she opened the door and I gave her a huge bouquet of flowers and wished her luck in her journey, she started to cry. She wasn't expecting to get flowers but we wanted to thank her for taking care of our aunt during her own time of decay.
Every morning, we take a few minutes to snuggle in bed. With one child on either side of me, both wrapped up in one of my arms, we talk about our day, talk about our dreams, and talk about something good we would like to do during the day. This is one of my favorite parts of the entire day. We give a huge squeeze and say something nice about each other then we start our day.
A seed to grow
How can I write about education, gardening, farming, environmental education, and nature-based learning without talking about sowing seeds that grow into plants? We are taking steps every day to eat the food that we grow, give the flowers that spread in our garden, collect and save the seeds, plant the seeds, compost, and repeat.
We want to share with others the ease of collecting and saving seeds. One watermelon has nearly fifty seeds, just think of the possibilities. Our food provides for us in so many ways. The flowers in our gardens produce so many seeds or ways to spread their beauty and color. Once you experience collecting and saving seeds a few times for a few different varieties of plants, you will start to wonder how you have not been saving and replanting seeds all along. Yes, there are some times you will plant seeds and nothing happens but then you try again next time. Maybe the seeds weren't dry all the way, maybe they hadn't fully matured, or maybe they were too old. But there's no harm in trying.
If I could just buy a few seeds or plants a year and then begin saving all the seeds or splitting the bulbs, or replanting the shoots, that would be amazing. The food garden that I could create would be all that I could ask for and more. I could share with my neighbors, share with my friends and family, and share with others who are in need of fresh produce and fruits. I could plant all the seeds at once: hope, joy, inspiration, love, and community.
And it all started with just one seed.
This week is just a short reflection. I am taking some down time to regroup and collect a lot of information and knowledge that I have gained over the summer. I am also getting ready to head over to the Rodale Institute "Town Hall" with some local state representatives. I am eager to hear what initiatives are in the works for the future and learn how I can get my hands dirty to help my community.