I'm sad to admit it, but there was a time a few years ago, when my boys stopped being interesting in gardening. When their little kids' enthusiasm in joining in whatever mom was doing, and digging in the dirt to see nature grow, cooled off considerably, gardening became mainly relabelled in their minds as a chore: watering or harvesting. I've been wondering about it, and like many aspects of growing up and parenting, I fully realize that my kids will not necessary grow up loving the things we parents love - we're raising individuals, after all, not clones. Yet there are some things in life that I deem important, though not crucial (my kids don't need to become gardeners to live a full and meaningful life), and I strive to give my kids some basic tools to pursue them, which they may pick up and dig deeper with if they want to, later on in life. Sometimes raising children really does resemble gardening: you sow lots of seeds in the soil, tend them, and wait to see how many sprout, and what they'll grow into.
So when my boys stopped showing interest in gardening, I tried to involve them in other ways - talking about my own gardening passion with them, discussing the quality of what we grow as opposed to what's available in supermarkets, planting what they like to eat, involving them in the preparation of tasty meals with fresh ingredients just picked from the garden ... and so on. Did it work? I planted those seeds, but so far, they haven't sprouted.
(her own involvement in the recent gardening action)
Or maybe they have, in ways I didn't anticipate. This past month, when I discussed the garden work that needed to be done - the ivy to be cleared and the prunings to be burned - they chimed in and offered to help. Axes, saws, matches, and fires seem to be the way to draw my boys into the core of gardening.
And so they have been gardening with me, but in their own way: pruning and cutting dead limbs down, chopping them up, hauling them into piles, lighting fires and burning garden waste ... it isn't quite growing things in the garden as I'd imagined, but it's the essential preparatory work to that growing plants step. It's the necessary work that is part of the gardening season, which I'm only too happy (and grateful) to have them do actively and willingly - involved in that part of the gardening cycle which at this stage is better suited to them (and hoping that the seed of wanting to grow things will sprout too).