It’s been a busy spring on the homestead. We’ve been starting seeds, building garden boxes, turning earth, raking, and mulching. And that’s just in the garden! It takes a team to accomplish all that we need to do. I love when we are all working as a family and I know that the kids will take away so much goodness from that time spent together.
It’s more than simple work ethic that kids learn when they have their hands in the soil. They’re learning about life, God, and all that He provides. Our Pope has called us to share the beauty of the earth and its gifts with our children. He tells us: “Intergenerational solidarity is not optional, but rather a basic question of justice, since the world we have received also belongs to those who will follow us.” (Laudato Si,159)
Our food sustains us and that life source is a beautiful gift. It is an incredible life lesson to watch a seed sprout, grow, and bear fruit. It’s a gift for our children to learn how a seed holds the miracle of the food that feeds us. In God’s design, everything that the seeds needs to grow and bear fruit is held right there within it.
Early this spring, while it was still cold outside, we scooped soil into peat pots and gently planted tiny seeds. Tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, and so many more. We have a huge set of south-facing, sunny windows, so we set our little pots there in the sunshine. As the seeds sprouted and little seedlings started to grow, the weather started to turn warmer and the days became longer. We were thrilled when it was finally warm enough to prepare the garden for our little seedlings!
We have a large garden, which takes many hands for prepare and maintain. The younger kids help daddy build boxes while the bigger, stronger kids help to turn the soil and haul the mulch. A large garden certainly is not a necessity in teaching young children to work the soil and grow the seeds. A potted tomato on the sunny back deck or a small plot of radishes (they grow like magic!) in the corner of the yard is enough! Let the children get their hands dirty and maybe dump too many seeds into the pot!
It’s always thrilling to sit down to a meal which includes food you grew with your own hands! Children (and grown-ups!) love to eat the, literal, fruits of their labor. Family dinners are important, but family dinners with food you all grew together, will never be forgotten.