A Parenting Lesson From A Shovel

This afternoon my youngest and I spent a few hours getting our garden ready for the season.  I’ll share more on our garden soon in a future post.  In this post I’d like to share a few parenting lessons that I learned from my daughter and of all things… a shovel.

After clearing all last year’s dead foliage and an unreal amount of weeds we got it down to the dirt;  hard compacted dirt that needed to be worked.  I grabbed our potato fork and got to work digging up and turning over the soil.  It’s the same tool I’ve always used for the job.

Potato fork & shovel by garden

My daughter grabbed one of our bigger shovels and attempted to help.  It was back breaking work for me.  I can only imagine what she was thinking.  Several times she asked for my potato fork.

Several times I told her no.  After all, it was what I was using and to be honest, I didn’t really think she could offer much help. My goal was just to keep her occupied and out of my way so I could get the real work done.

I could tell she was getting frustrated and close to quitting and I was getting tired so I suggested we take a break.  I sat in the shade and checked my phone.  She kept working… but she grabbed the potato fork I had been using.

I was impressed!   She was getting some real work done with a tool more her size.  I grabbed the shovel she had been using and joined in. You know what? The shovel was actually easier for me to use.  The longer handle meant less strain on my back.

Here I thought I’d have to do it all myself but with us each with the right tools we were able to work on it together.  After that it was still hard, sweaty work but it was more fun being together and seeing the progress we were making.

The whole scene this afternoon with the shovel and potato fork taught me a few parenting lessons.

  1. If your kid wants to work do whatever you can to encourage them.
  2. There’s no one way to do something.  You should be open to trying new things and new ways.  You might stumble upon a better or easier way.
  3. Don’t underestimate the work your kids can do.  Give them a challenge and you might be pleasantly surprised.

The other thing I was reminded of today is that kids are always watching and remembering.

We had the country tunes cranked and my daughter reminded me of a song we heard last year working in the garden and a “bad Dad joke” I made about it. A year later and she still remembered!

It was in that moment I realized that the best memories don’t have to be big or grand.  They can be of ordinary everyday things… which now that I think about it… are what most of my Memory Monday posts are about.

What will I remember most about today, besides the parenting lessons my daughter and that shovel taught me?

I’ll remember two specific songs that came on that seemed appropriate for the afternoon.

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