|In the Dawes Japanese garden
I was going to put up a post full of pictures of my trip to Dawes Arboretum and tell you news about what is going on there…. but I didn’t get to it yet.
I gardened. I lived my Real Life.
But then Trey tweeted something about Doug Green’s blogpost today, and I read that post and it inspired an old fashioned blog effort at conversation. Who knew things like that were still possible? Half kidding.
To catch you up before I start telling you what I’ve noticed about the trouble with lighting garden passion fires under the next generation, here are the links.
What I Felt Differently
And while I think that Doug’s analysis of what happens in the technology is accurate, and how media has changed, I am not sure that this is what is at the bottom of why (many of) our kids don’t like to garden.
Some have personal issues, and that is probably part of what my own kids resist with gardening, although I notice despite their protests some of them do seem like some of the benefits of gardening. I was an obsessive gardener and my kids did not like that – just as my sisters don’t like gardening and felt my mom spent too much time in her garden.
But aside from all that, I think there are some fundamental things that our children have moved away from. Like home ownership. Even if they own a home they are disillusioned with the amount of money and work a home requires. They aren’t getting as much out of home ownership as our generation did. And they don’t believe they will, right now.
Same with gardening.
Gardening is slow and it requires sweat. Sweat is something the younger generation doesn’t mind in the gym, but heartily dislikes in their yards. That doesn’t mean that this is what is wrong with them …just that this is something about their priorities that is different from those of my hippie, baby boomer generation. We don’t have the same love for the gym that our kids do, either. (And we should, believe me, we should!)
Whereas we see the challenge of nature and recoil at the challenge of software and computer troubles, it is the opposite for our kids. They are frustrated by natures challenges and we don’t help it by telling them the lie that it is easy to learn and navigate. It isn’t easy, it just has certain rewards.
They are not sure they need or want those rewards. We won’t convince them by ranting and raving that they should.
What I Agree With
What I do agree with Doug about is the fact that we need to learn the terms of engagement… in the communication not in the warfare sense. We are not at war with our kids, just as we shouldn’t have been at war with our parent when we were growing up. We have need of learning to have conversation.
We have to win each other over to healthier ways of living and relating.
We have to be truthful about all the hard work that takes… both with ourselves and with others.
We need to make a choice about how “perfect” all that is supposed to look.
We need to stop wanting to capitalize on relationship and leave capital and leveraging to goods and finance; not an easy thing to negotiate in our marketing society. But in the end, it will all come down to appreciating slower types of things in life: the beauty of nature, the importance of living things, losing out on certain advantages in order to make more of important priorities …like kindness, magnanimity of soul, excellence of effort and work. You get the picture.
We don’t have to make the next generation love to garden because we love it, we need to find out what is important to them and how gardening is part of that, and present what enlightens us all to that aspect of gardening.
That is how I see it.
I wish more things were self evident, but I wonder if even the most self evident truths require an apostle to share the truth about such things. Ranting is never the tool of an apostle, neither is complaining. Maybe words like evangelism, conversion, and preaching shouldn’t have such bad connotations…. maybe those are better forms of sharing and starting a conversation than propaganda and rants. Maybe our world is so political that we have lost the art of communicating joy.
The pursuit of gardening really needs a communication of the joy, the beauty and the peace of it.
And every generation needs and wants some of that.
|Closer view of Crabapple trees
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© 2012 written for Ilona’s Garden Journal. An excellent blog.