Doing the Work | Planting + Sowing

What could be getting in the way of your child's growth.

I’ve always thought that planting and sowing seeds are two of the easiest parts of gardening.  And by easiest, I mean it’s really hard for me to mess those up.  But the more I learn about seeds and sprouts and bulbs, I realize that I can either set them up well to grow or I can ruin them before they have time to take root in the ground.


Whether you’re putting seeds or plants into the soil, the way you do so is remarkably important.  Too deep and the seed suffers; too shallow and the roots are threatened or the seed washes away.

"A seed, though not active, is a tiny living thing. It contains the embryo of the future plant, which is not changing or developing: it is dormant. The common idea is that the seed "sleeps" until it gets what it needs to wake up.


Growth is triggered by particular events in the environment. Details of the triggers are known for some, but not all, seeds. Rain, fire, ground temperature, are examples.


When a seed germinates ("wakes up"), it begins to grow into a little plant called a seedling.  It uses the soft fleshy material inside the seed for nutrients (food) until it is ready to make food on its own using sunlight, water and air.


Most seeds germinate underground where there is no sunlight. The plant does not need the nutrients in soil for a few days or weeks, because the seed has all the things it needs to grow.  Later, though, it will begin to need sunlight. If there is sunlight, the plant will use it to grow healthy…If the plant does not get enough light, it will eventually die. It needs light to make food for itself when the reserve in the seed runs out."

from Wikipedia


How often do we refer to our children as some sort of “seed” or “sprout?”  While fitting in many ways, the more I’ve learned about sowing and planting new, young growth, the more I’ve realized the vital role that parents/caregivers/teachers/mentors/elders play in a child’s life.  This little life can grow with the basic care and attention, but what will it grow into? 


Regardless of whether you are a parent of your own child(ren), a prospective parent, a guardian, or an influential part of a child’s life, let’s consider how we can promote the best growth in younger ones.


What kind of elements in your child’s environment are already prompting healthy growth?  What needs to be added and/or removed from the environment?


What “nutrients” (strengths, positive characteristics, etc.) does your child already possess?  What could happen if those aren’t encouraged and begin to stagnate or deteriorate?


How could you be gentler and more attentive to your child’s growth?


And what would it take for your child to grow even more?


With you and for you,


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Alair Olson, M.A.

 Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist (LMFT#86504)

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