A SEED: small, dry, and hard; a compact piece of energy. To push up through the earth--to become more than possibility--a seed requires a convergence of nourishing actions and beneficial happenstance over which the seed itself has no control. Seeds must fall or be planted into hospitable soil. They must get enough (but not too much) water, sunlight, and nutrition. They must be protected from predators yet available to pollinators.
Our children arrive to us in similar circumstances: future yet to be revealed, cultivation required immediately. The nurturng that a child needs to blossom comes first from the home and family into which they fall. But, when we begin to raise a child we cannot know what sort of "ground" will be best for them, because we cannot know what sort of "flower" they have the potential to become. As parents, unlike as gardeners, we lack the seed packet with its picture on the front, its instructions on the back. Are you doing everything a chrysanthemum ought to need? Maybe your child is a sunflower or a daisy.
We can only try to do what we think is best: Provide safety. Model kindness. Teach open-mindedness. Invite play. Create opportunities for our children to discover who they are, what they are good at, what and whom they love.
Only time and experience--theirs--will reveal whom you are raising. We pray that who we are and how we parent will be good enough.
A seed makes itself...But it needs help.
Sometimes it needs a moth or a wasp or a gust of wind.
Sometimes it needs a farm and it needs a farmer.
It needs a garden and a gardener.
It needs you.
--Janisse Ray, in The Seed Underground: A Growing Revolution to Save Food