by Shawna Lee Coronado
Indeed, this type of energy is the type of energy we want our children to have instead of caffeine- or sugar-generated. It is longer lasting, healthier, and stimulates lasting memories. Bottom line; gardening and being outdoors in nature is fun and makes kids and adults alike feel happy. Testimony to this claim is the sunflower garden adventure my youngest daughter and I had together. One afternoon I dumped a handful of sunflower seeds in my hand and said, "Will you look at that!"
"What?" said my youngest, leaning low to my hand so she could get a close-up view of the seeds.
"That!" I smile, "This is a sunflower!"
"MOMMMMM, it is not, it's too little!" she answered incredulously.
"It will be in a few months," I said. "Let's go outside and plant them." We got our old shoes on, grabbed a shovel, some popsicle sticks, and a watering can and headed out behind the fence.
Grinning, my girl and I set about digging up the ground. We laughed with each other and she asked a lot of questions about how little seeds can grow. Of course, half way through she found a few worms and I lost my digging mate, but she gained much from that experience as she sat and played on the sidewalk with the worms while I finished digging.
Finally she came and helped me plant the little seeds in the ground, placing a popsicle stick next to each seed so we would know where to water in the coming weeks.
Every other day or so we would get out in nature and spend some time talking about those seeds. We always had smiles on our face when we went out to water the little babies. Our experience together, being out in nature, was awesome for both of us.
One lazy summer day, my little one came screaming into the house, grabbed me by the hand, and dragged me tooth and nail out to the sunflowers shouting I had to see something. When we got out to the garden, the flowers towered over twelve feet high; their heads enormous. Neither of us could believe how big they were.
"I can't believe it!" she said.
"Pretty big aren't they?" I replied.
"HUUUGGGEE Mom! They're just HUGE! Bigger'n Dad! Bigger'n a tree! I think they might be bigger'n our garage! And this big, giant flower came from our little-bitty seed, right?"
"The worms are in the ground around the seeds, so they helped too, right?"
"Let's get the camera!"
There we were out in nature, gardening, laughing, taking photos of the biggest darned flowers we had ever seen. Neighbors from our community were walking by and hugging their congratulations with us on the marvelous accomplishment of those glorious flowers. I remember every day we watered and the great feeling it gave both of us to be outside together. I remember seeing the sunflower grow inch by inch every day of the summer. And I remember the joy in the heart of my little girl when she realized how nature works together and how we helped it along. I cannot wait to do it again next year.
This is the gift we should be giving every child - the gift of understanding the connection between good health, community, and the natural world. Remember that life is what you make it - make it about being out in nature with your children!
Shawna Lee Coronado is an author, locally syndicated newspaper columnist, energetic speaker, and environmental and health correspondent. As a greening expert, she is focused on teaching and living a green lifestyle.
Shawna Coronado is the author of the new greening, health, and community self-help book "Gardening Nude" and hopes to inspire the world to live healthier and happier.To purchase Shawna's green lifestyle book, go to Amazon.com or this link - http://tinyurl.com/cv6svv. As an author, columnist, speaker, and environmental correspondent, Shawna hopes to inspire the world to get off the couch and get out into the environment and community to improve physical and emotional health! To contact Shawna,
please visit her websites -
www.thecasualgardener.com - www.gardeningnude.com
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