Life's Tool Box – A Guide for Parents and Educators

April 7, 2011

Aerating Lawns, Blossoming Children

Filed under: Tools for Life Posts — by Life's Toolbox @ 1:17 pm
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aerator.gifIt’s almost here . . . there are hints of buds on the trees and shoots of green in my flower beds.  The garden stores are open, and my neighbors are puttering in the garden.  Everyone seems to have an impressive array of tools and products.  But anyone who knows lawns is starting the process with a soil aerator.  An aerator loosens up the soil, because seeds are unlikely to flourish if placed on tightly packed dirt.  Aerators usually work by removing small plugs of soil from the lawn, decreasing the compaction of the soil.  Compacted soil is problematic because it has inadequate room for the oxygen that roots need to grow.

            As parents and educators, we are always planting seeds, hoping for growth.  We may be laying in a crop of skills; multiplication, writing a paragraph, riding a bicycle.  Or we may hope to cultivate attitudes and values; hopefulness, honesty, perseverance.   Like all gardeners, we need to create fertile ground if we have any hope that our plantings will take root.  Luckily, we have a powerful aerator readily available to us – our relationship with the children we care about.  It is the positive and powerful relationship we create with our children that gives us the “room” to support all kinds of growth.

You can aerate a lawn by hand, or in a matter of minutes with the help of a relatively inexpensive or rented machine.  There are no short cuts and no machines to achieve a relationship.  It is built through days on the floor playing games, nights of bedtime stories, listening to seemingly endless tales, and talks and more talks.  It is built when we turn off the blackberry, turn down the tv volume, turn around from washing the dishes or writing on the blackboard, and be with our children.  Time spent, however, will be of no use, if it is given begrudgingly, or if it offers children a negative sense of who they are or how parents and teachers feel about them. 

To build relationships, parents and educators may need to aerate their hearts.  Like a soil aerator pulls out plugs of hardened soil, we need to unplug the critical, angry, disappointed view we sometimes harbor about our children and students.  We need to recapture our wonder at their uniqueness and potential.  In short, we need to repeatedly fall in love with the children in our lives.  When we invest our time with our children with these feelings of love, admiration, and hope we provide the nutrients our relationships need.  Having prepared fertile soil, we can then plant the seeds of growth, and look forward to the blossoming of our children and students.

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1 Comment »

  1. My 21 year old daughter wrote me this note yesterday……Mom, Mother, Mommy….
    You have been many things to me over the years: a friend, disciplinarian, biggest supporter, shoulder to cry on, shopping partner, editor, accountant, personal assistant, therapist. That is why I don’t know to whom I should address this. You are not just my mom, mother, or mommy. You are all of these things and so much more.
    Thank you for being an available mom then I needed breakfast in bed, help with a paper, a ride to the mall. Thank you for being a firm mother when I needed punishment to learn right from wrong, to be put in my place, or a reality check. Thank you for being a compassionate mommy when I needed someone to hold me while a cried and someone to vent to until 3am while stuffing our faced with chocolate and potato chips.
    Thank you mom for keeping my secrets, holding my hair when I threw up, the home made waffles I woke up to each morning before school; for the nights you pretended you were sleeping when I crept in a few minutes after curfew. Thank you mother, for instilling in me the traditions and values that guide my actions, inform my decisions, and which I now cherish and find sacred. Thank you mommy for putting my heart back together when it was broken, for holding my hand when it felt empty, for letting me revert to fetal position on you lap even when I grew too big for that.
    One day I hope I can be 1/3 of the mom you are to me, 1/3 of the mother and 1/3 of the mommy, because I know that the whole woman would be an amazing one.

    Dr. Novick…You are right, the support and development of children and cultivation of relationships don’t happen overnight. The act of parenting is not for the weak or angry…it’s a sustained, wondrous, process of active participation in the creation of a relationship that endures and has far reaching effects…..the proof is in the pudding.

    Comment by Audrey Menachem — May 9, 2011 @ 11:34 am |Reply


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