Teaching Gratitude Through Food Growing

Gratitude Through Food Growing by plentyofsimple.com

 

HAPPY CANADIAN THANKSGIVING!

Thanksgiving comes as a suprise every year here in Canada because we are still weaning off from the long sunny days of our summer. The leaves are just staring to changes colour and things are still relatively green in the Pacific Northwest, but a visit to a pumpkin patch will set autumn into high gear.

There is a sense of quieting down,  yet whatever is now harvesting is just bursting like a fireworks’ finale. I cannot help but feel the abundance myself and blessed that my family gets to be on the receiving end of the work from our community’s noble hardworking farmers.

Being able to expose our boys to this kind of simple abundance is truly a dream come true. In contrast to the place where I grew up in Hong Kong, where not a blade of grass was in sight let alone having the kind of expansive spacial experience such as a farm and fresh clean air, where we are now is truly heavenly.

To have available to me the freedom to navigate their childhood experiences and seeing how it really translate into their character development, I am beyond grateful to have this opportunity to parent outside of the mainstream expectations. It is by no means easy to swim upstream from convention but I am given only one chance to set the foundation of these boys and I will not forsake it.

PUMPKIN PATCH VISIT

A few days ago, I took the boys to visit a beautiful yet simple local farm with a small pumpkin patch. I wanted to find one that is not to too commercial so they would not get distracted by all the bells and whistles and be able to experience what actually grows there.

Due to the flexibility of a homeschooling schedule, I decided to visit this farm on what looked like the last sunny dry day for while. It was a Thursday morning, with most people either at school or at work,  we pretty much had to whole farm to ourselves to explore. We got to frolic in the field of pumpkins and experience first hand all the different varieties, shapes, sizes and colours pumpkins come in. It was simple yet magical. They both picked a favourite pumpkin/gourd, one looked like a goose and one looked like a starfish. It has been a few days now but they are still relishing in the experience and have been playing caretakers to their new “animal” pumpkin friends and more ways I can imagine possible.


TEACHING GRATITUDE THROUGH FOOD GROWING

Aside from all the obvious benefits of supporting your local farmers and farming community, to me it is one of the best and simplist way to demonstrate a deep sense of gratitude to young children.

After every visit to the farms and/or famer’s markets, during every meal or snack time, there comes a great opportunity to talk about how amazing the farmers are (especially when they have met them) and how hard they work in order for us to enjoy such deliciousness.

By taking them to buy directly from the farm or farmers, the benefits are many folds:

1. They get to go on an adventure to experience something of substance.
2. They get to meet the person that is actually responsible for the food that ends up on their table and in their bodies.
3. They get to see what hardworking looks like.
4. They get to understand where food actually comes from.
5. They get to see up close all the cool gadgets, tools and machinery.
6. They get to experience generosity because most of the time, the farmers will hand them something yummy to chew on.
7. Last but not least, they get to feel a sense of wonder and actually experience true miracles before their eyes. I mean really, isnt’ it a miracle how an ity bitty seed can grow into something so interesting looking and such diverse flavours?!

This autumn, see if you can find a farmer for your children to get to know and develop a relationship with them. By doing so, it is actually an act of living sustainably because you will be part of helping a hard working farmer to feel appreciated and in return they will put more love into the food they grow. Full circle.

Much warmth and blessings,
Grace

The Big Picture

Beach Combing

The fact is our parenting journey goes by so fast.  During the early years, the days may feel so long but the years are short.  Now that we are a little over four years into this phase of our lives, we are finding time is speeding by faster than ever before.  We just blinked and our first boy will be five this year.

Recently, I stumbled upon this Podcast by Jack Petrash, an author, a parent/teacher educator, a master Waldorf Teacher and the founder and director of the Nova Institute.  This Podcast was a talk he did a few years ago about the basic overview of his book Navigating the Terrain of Childhood” – A Guidebook for Meaningful Parenting and Heartfelt Discipline.  His talk was one of the most beautiful rendition of the big picture of the parenting journey that I’ve ever heard in less than 60 minutes.  It was so simple, earnest and heartfelt as well as moving and exquisitely descriptive using the metaphor of a road trip through the United States, starting in the east coast from North Carolina to the west coast ending in California.

My heart was so full by the end his talk, my eyes were filled with tears that streamed down with overwhelming knowledge these beautiful years of wonderment with our boys will just fly by.  It is not like we don’t know this – that children will grow up fast – but it was how he told this story, almost like a fairytale that made this talk so different than all the other ways it had been presented to me before.  It was so moving and most of all inspiring.  It has inspired me to become even more conscious that I feel I already am, and to live in the present with even more conviction that I will not take ANY moment with my boys for granted.  I want to be able to be real and truthful with them with as much clarity as I possibly can.  I just want to be there, with eyes wide open.   I’m not here just to serve them and help them grow, I am doing this for Vince and myself too!

I’m not sure who will stumble upon this post, but if you are reading this and you have children then I would strongly recommend listening to this wonderful gem.  It will open your heart and your mind to see the humanity of all our journeys, it will add some more depth to the way you see the world and your children and most of all, yourself.

I would love to hear your feedback and listen to your thoughts on this.

With much affection,

Grace

A technical note on the Podcast:  It is divided into 11 Segments and they are not arranged in chronological order, so you will need to select each one as you go along.  Also, the time stamp of these segments are incorrect, each Segment is only about 5 minutes long so don’t be taken that this is going to be a long drawn-out lecture.