One of the most important things to help children learn about gardening and nature is to have some understanding of ‘human nature’. They can be fairly puzzled how gardening relates to human nature, especially when all they really want is to get their hands dirty and start deciding what they want to grow. But any childhood dream for a patch of soil or career in horticulture would be beneficial if parents had some degree of a discussion with their little ones on the birds and bees of human nature.
Firstly parents could start with the fundamental notion that humans have a good and evil side. Children generally do read books at school like Harry Potter or the classic To Kill a Mocking Bird that highlight how humans are born innocent, yet can be faced with so much evil that they themselves become their own worst, evil enemy .
Also important to discuss would be that element of human nature where people have a tendency to be well meaning in their cause yet often become tired and cut corners to make their life seem easier but in fact make things harder for themselves in the long run. Before any gardening project should start it would be helpful for children to have in the fore front of their minds that if their purpose for building a garden is instant gratification then choosing plants accordingly that were going to grow fast, such as pumpkins or alfalfa seeds, to produce vegetables within a few months would work best.
Broadening children’s understanding of horticulture teaches them simple ideas, for example, planting suitable plants for soil types, and how plants can attract wildlife and provide them with a food source. When children are educated on the delicate relationship between flora and fauna within our environment they are able to see how human behavior is the key to achieving balance between them.
Children must be overwhelmed at times with the complexity of human nature, they must secretly marvel at adults and their complex of individual wants and needs. We only have to look at the shape of our plant to see how destructive we have been and how such a profound impact has affected every element of our environment, such as global warming, deforestation and the never ending masses of animal extinction.
On the other hand, humans have been responsible for not only destruction to our planet but also capable of amazing works with nature. It is evident in human nature that people are attracted to beautiful things; consequently we are only now starting to understand how our behavior is impacting the world around us.
The last crucial point that children can learn from getting their hands dirty is that like humans- gardens have their ups and down but also need constant love and attention. Like anything worthwhile gardens take commitment and hard work and a skill learned by theory and practice. Ultimately the goal of any project is for little and big people to learn how tightly connected human nature is woven to our natural environment. Humans really can learn so much from what our nature world reminds us, love-time- understanding grows the most important things and with that combination humans can achieve anything.