What this soil nerd has taught me about your kids…

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Tam is an avid gardener. It is clear watching her tend to her vegetables and herbs that she is not only feeding the endless depths of her family’s tummies, she is also feeding a very primal instinct she acquired from her bloodline of farmers. As a dirt nerd, she immediately enchanted me with her fierce survival instinct as a person and independence from the retail era.

During our early dating days, she would suggest Bunnings dates (yes, she is the perfect woman), usually to buy manure for a new garden bed. With the sheep’s collective digestion in the back of my car and as the nauseating scent of animal fluids and waste fills our noses, she turns to me and says “I like you… and poo..”. Quickly pointing out that she placed me as her first priority, I knew then that our relationship had a chance.

In the garden, conversations of plants typically focused on what we want to eat in the coming months. We talk about planting the eggplants and okra in the beds with the most sun and the asparagus with the tomatoes in the beds where our neighbour’s towering pine trees drop their acidic needles. We prepare the beds with rations of and silty clay for optimized growth depending on plant types and nutrient needs.

Most of the time, her plants will grow as expected but every time it fails, it is usually because of a limiting factor in its’ environment missed in planning. When so much focus is placed on the needs on the individual and not on its’ environment, the individual may survive but cannot thrive.

We may buy the most expensive organic, heritage seeds from the most reputable supplier of fresh seeds. We could plant them in organic soil created from short cellular compost and we could apply the most advance watering systems to that plant, but if we don’t take care of its’ environment, pest will come in and eat all its’ leaves. Disease from other plants or infected mulch might take over its’ stems and root systems. A heavy rainfall could occur and wash the entire bed away.

Thinking that we could control the growth of that plant because we focused on it would only be a false control because its’ environment was still toxic for its’ growth.

The most seasoned aquarist or aquaculture professional will tell you that growing fish is not about what type of fish, if it has some trendy genetics or if it was a wild caught specimen. The most important job you have is to keep its’ water clean. The fish will grow because it has food and clean water.

What if a parent sent their child to the best school in the area, equipped them with the best technology and gave them the best food to eat. Would the child do well?

What if the same child watched TV shows like ‘The Simpsons’ and ‘The Kardasians’ for 3 hours a day? What if she was looked after by a pot-smoking uncle every day after school her parents got home at 7pm? What if they were desensitized to senseless violence on a daily basis from games they played and movies they watched. What if he or she had no hobbies? What if the same child had toxic friends that gave him or her the most inflated ego that made them think they could accomplish dangerous feats? What if, that child was surrounded by toxic people that took away his or her ego and self-worth.

When we work with a child, we work with their whole family. It would only be a short-term fix to providing care and counselling to a child and then sending them back to the family that still treats them as they were. Or may not have had the understanding to deal with that child and revert to old strategies that never worked.

Do you know all the limiting factors in your or your child’s lives? If not, you only have false control. Your driving with an unclear view.

Dexter Chew

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