Monthly Musing – November 2018 – Back to nature

“What’s this leaf, Mum?”

Small daughter and I were walking the dog and she’d picked a large leaf blown down by the Autumn winds. Because I’ve spent years as a parent answering questions, it didn’t occur to her that I wouldn’t know – but in this case I actually did (it was from a horse chestnut tree). From being young, I’ve always been interested in nature and have more than a few books to help me identify trees, wildflowers and animals that aren’t generally found in the garden. It might be easier to look things up on the internet these days and I do that too, but I still love my books.

Despite my best efforts, neither of my girls have been particularly interested in naming the trees and flowers that we’ve passed on our walks over the years and this latest conversation with small daughter had me wondering why. Is it because they’ve always known that I’ll have answer so they’ve not needed to (although often we’ve had to look something up when we got home), or perhaps they don’t have the time as there are so many more things to capture their attention – gone are the days when children’s TV was only on for an hour a day and after that you had to make your own entertainment – or maybe they are just not that bothered about it? I’ve learnt not to worry too much about it as a lack of interest at a young age doesn’t mean that you won’t become interested later. I re-trained as a gardener after big daughter had gone to school, fascinated by the same Latin names and soil structure information that would have left me cold only a few years earlier. It’s never too late to learn something new.

What I believe is more important this that the information is always available so that anybody can access it whenever they are ready. I believe that we come to things when we are ready to learn about them and it isn’t necessarily at a time that is conventional or even convenient – but isn’t it more important that we do? That way, we can bring maturity, understanding and often a different viewpoint which can lead to all kinds of new discoveries.

Back home from university at the weekend, big daughter picked up a charity letter about bees that was lying on the table. “This is really important,” she said (and this from the young woman who is not keen on bees or any other flying insect), “There are all kinds of plants that we can grow to attract the bees. I’ve been thinking about what we can grow in the garden next year and we might want to look into this.”

The temptation to point her towards the bookshelf, full of books about flowering plants and pollinators, supporting our Earth ecosystem and conserving wildlife, and start spouting about how I’ve tried to talk to her for years about this was overwhelming, but I am also learning.

“I’ll get the seed catalogue and we’ll have a look together,” I said.

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8 Responses

  1. selina says:

    yeh, think all of us who have children see this …
    thanx for sharing

  2. Poppypatchwork says:

    Perfect post, so true about the information and how our young ones use it, and you show perfectly how they can come back to things you thought had passed them by. Hope you chose some beautiful flowers for you and the bee's.

  3. happy hooker says:

    Yes, I tried for years to get my 2 interested in growing things, but no joy. Until now, in their 30's, they have houses with gardens, and although it's only a slow, small interest, they're beginning to see the joy to be had in nature. I keep telling them that the gardening gene will out!

  4. luluknitts says:

    Absolutely true. Sometimes you have to step so slowly with them, it's almost like you're going backwards…. x

  5. Jenny Higgs says:

    I help run a wildlife watch group (junior branch of the wildlife trusts). I find the children are interested and want to know more, plus spend time in the great outdoors, it is often the parents who undervalue such experiences! As you point out there are so many competing experiences today it is hard to choose and nature often comes a poor second. Perhaps big daughter could be encouraged to embrace her connection with nature by joining in 30days wild next year. It is run by the wildlife trusts and is well represented on social media and only takes a few minutes everyday, most participants report a feeling of a greater connection with nature afterwards.
    Best wishes

  6. Helen says:

    "You catch more 'bees' with honey" (I know it should be flies.) As a former classroom teacher with a curriculum agenda it was always important to pay attention to where the students' attention was and capitalize on it. But good for you to resist the 'I told you so' moment when your daughter has now caught the fire. 🙂

  7. Julie says:

    We have a group of little people who come along and help at the community allotment project, they are like little sponges and soak up what you say and really enjoy growing and harvesting produce to take home.

  8. Emptynester says:

    Our two children used to cry if the car stopped in the car park of a garden centre! These days, they swap rare varieties of tomato plants, unusual chilliest, even gardening advice despite being 200 miles apart! There is hope for them all……………..

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