I love Judy’s Garden at Camp Weequahic. We built it about five years ago and CMJ, with the help of a lot of campers, has been faithfully tending it ever since to the enjoyment of many.
Our budding chefs from the Top Chef kitchen can be found grabbing a few herbs or veggies. CMJ and her pickling team produce pretty fantastic treats each summer. And, it’s a great place to watch everything from flowers to veggies grow.
One important task is to keep the weeds from taking over the garden. Try as we might, we can’t seem to keep them out completely. But, with the diligent help of a few intrepid campers, the ‘good fruit’ of our garden is kept safe from the weeds.
Our Own Gardens
I’ve run into the analogy of gardening and soil often over the past few weeks. When the same theme pops up three or four times in short order, I pay attention – someone is trying to tell me something!
Here’s the idea: we have to think of ourselves in two ways. First, we are the soil in which our fruits – thoughts both good and bad – grow. Secondly, we need to think of ourselves as the gardener who cultivates our own personal garden.
Here’s what I mean.
Think of your mind and soul as a garden bed. When you are born, that soil is naturally rich and accepting of all sorts of ideas and experiences.
You won’t remember it this way but watch a baby or toddler with engaged caregivers. You’ll notice that the adults are trying to help the child learn and grow in wholesome ways – be patient, use your words, explore, laugh, read, and more.
The hope is that these actions take root in the child to the point where they lead to bearing ‘good fruit.’ This means actions in the future that are beneficial and helpful.
This can come in lots of forms: reaching out to a friend in need, showing self-control and self-direction, being kind, an inquisitive nature, etc.
But remember, your ‘soil’ can be planted with things that are not beneficial, too. I would call these weeds that can choke out the good fruit in you – things like selfishness, anger, impatience, and fear. If you aren’t careful, they’ll take root… and take over the garden.
Up Grows a Gardener
One of the many amazing things about being a human is that we can practice ‘introspection.’ A house cat doesn’t look back over its day to see what it could have done, said, or thought better. Neither can any other animal – except you!
As you get older, you start to realize that you have a lot of control over what you think, say and do. Even more, you begin to understand that all the ‘inputs’ – what you read, see, and listen to – leave seeds that grow over time.
All of these messages are fighting to get into your ‘soil’ in order to take root and grow. But, here’s the important part: you get to choose what grows and what gets removed in your garden.
You are the gardener. But, be warned: some weeds are really, really tough to get out. I’ve tried for years to my cravings for canteen. I’ve gotten better over time but that longing will probably always be in me, even if just a little. I kid… but not really….
Helping Gardners Grow
And, just as important, we strive to surround you with mentors who will you develop your own gardening skills. These young men and women give up a lot of their time to teach you! By showing gratitude, choosing their attitude, and practicing both courage and kindness, the hope is that a little of it will rub off on you!
So, spend some time over the coming weeks taking a good look at your garden, and your gardening skills. It’ll be some of the most important work you do!
Have a great week!