You, dear parent, dear teacher… are a Gardener
As I am working with kids, this is one of my most powerful mantras: I am a gardener, I plant seeds, I am not in charge of when they grow. It keeps me in “seed planting mode” rather than in “making them grow” mode. It also provides me a sense of acceptance and allowing. It cultivates a space of relaxation, of peace and non-resistance within me. I become a space of relaxation. It’s my container for sharing relaxation tools with kids. When I’m in this container of gardening, I am no longer attached to an outcome, pushing some unseen train toward relaxation, (which doesn’t work btw). As the gardener, I strive to “be” relaxation instead. And when I am planting seeds of relaxation instead of digging them up, it seems to give kids a sense of autonomy, enhancing their self-esteem since I’m sending the message that I believe in their ability to do things.
So as an educator, parent, or therapist, I encourage you to plant the seeds and let them grow. Let go of the perceived notion that it’s possible to control relaxation, or even make it happen in some way. Micromanagement can wait since it inhibits the growth process.
Water your relaxation seeds with thoughts of faith, trust, and positive expectancy. These are the perfect conditions for growth and expansion, inviting those little sprouts to try things out, fall down, and reach for the sun again. Each day that I show up to share these tools with kids, I remember, the seed may sprout today in class, next week, next year, or maybe some later time in the child’s life. I am not in charge of that! I am a gardener, first and foremost. I plant the seed, offer the relaxation tool, and encourage.
I was once working with a boy who has autism. He was struggling with proprioception, or the awareness of where his body is in space. I began showing him the yoga pose, downward dog. In the beginning he struggled to realize when his body was “off the floor.” I would ask him to raise his bottom in the air and he would raise a leg. Some other educators expressed doubt that he would be able to do it. He and I practiced for the entire school year, eight months of daily practice. At his end of the school year IEP review, his mother asked the team. Does anyone know where he learned some yoga? We were in Barnes and Nobel last week and he did a downward dog in the middle of the kids section. And there it was, the seed that had been so carefully nurtured throughout the year, had just taken root and was reaching for the sun.
So, dear gardeners, celebrate the rich soil of your teaching. Never underestimate the power of your planting.
Sow those seeds with love!
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