My kids have completely different styles when it comes to weeding the garden. My daughter gets in, gets out — quick as she can. The girl means business when it comes to weeds and she doesn’t like to waste her valuable free-time dawdling among the weeds!
My son, on the other hand, lingers. He daydreams.
Dawdles. It’s not his thing, he says.
He doesn’t prefer to weed.
So while in the garden recently, my daughter long gone, the dog uninterested in sitting with us out in the full heat of the sun (spoiled boy decided a swim in the pool would be a better use of his time!), I once again noticed my son idling amongst the rows. He wasn’t pulling anything free from the ground. Translated: he wasn’t weeding.
Pausing from my task of planting garlic bulbs, I calmly asked him, “What are you doing?”
I raised a brow. Really, now. “Enjoying life, are you?”
“Yes. I’m building an arena.”
Wondering if I heard him correctly, I repeated, “Building an arena?”
“Yep. And these are my lights.” He looked over at me with clear invitation in his eyes. “Wanna see?”
Of course I did, so I rose from my spot and joined him along his row.
“See. There’s the arena and here’s my light.” He bent a twig-like hay strand with his fingers to simulate a street light. “This is the light part and this is its post.”
“Ah….” Peering down into his creation, I said, “Looks good. Who’s it for?”
I chuckled. “Do ants enjoy going to the arena?”
“Oh, sure. And here’s their door where they enter.”
Sure enough, there was a hole opening in the ground forming a tunnel for the ants to enter. I nodded. “Perfect.”
And it was. Creative and wonderful, it was an awesome rendition of his current priority: sports. Returning to my row, I pondered over his imagination. Never short on ideas, I thought, kids sure can create anything out of nothing. Which is a good thing. Even better, I liked that he thought to consider a break from his chores to simply “enjoy life.” I think it says a lot about his state of mind, his outlook and for that, I’m proud of him.
A little while later, I noticed he still had yet to weed. Almost finished with my business in the garden, I knew he wasn’t going to take kindly to sitting out in the garden alone – weeding – so I nudged him a bit. “How are you doing?”
“No? What happened to enjoying life?”
“I still have to weed.”
“Yes, you do, but it’s not that much. You can manage.”
He tossed a hay twig to the ground. “It’s not fair. You try to enjoy life, but it comes right back at you!”
I laughed. Such observation from a seven-year-old! “You’re right. It does, doesn’t it?” I shook my head at his wisdom. When it comes to the “weeds” of life, it most certainly seems to — until you fully adjust your attitude cap; a feat he’s still working to master.
“What the heck–why even try to enjoy it then?”
“It’s all about attitude. Enjoy what you’re doing, whatever it is.”
He huffed in disagreement. “I’m gonna go throw the football with Dad.”
“Yes you are – right after you finish weeding.”
And such goes life. Despite his every effort to the contrary, my son learned it’s not all fun and games. There are parts of life that feel like work, no matter how hard you try to make them feel like play. But we push through. We persevere.
As a mother, it’s reassuring to know we’re not only growing vegetables out here in the garden, but building character to boot.