Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better. -- Albert Einstein
Earth Day is a great time to reflect on the valuable lessons that nature can teach us about growth and our everyday lives. Events in nature often mirror our own lives in various ways. Here are three ways I've noticed nature teaching me lessons.
Lesson #1: Like nature, we are always in a growth cycle
Sharing the similarities between our growth cycle and that of nature resonates with children because of their curiosity and love of the outdoors. Having tangible objects to point out the growth cycle can help take some of the mystery out of how we grow as humans.
Like trees we also:
- Experience a variety of environments and seasons
- Add a layer of experience to our overall growth each year
- Have moments of dormancy and rebirth
- Need to adapt to conditions around us
- Have protection mechanisms to shield our inner core
In my work with children, I have realized that they are not always aware that challenges, difficult emotions and dark times are just a regular part of growing. When they discover that having hard experiences can in fact help them to discover treasure inside, they feel less fearful.
It gives them a sense of safety to know that they can still thrive and blossom after experiencing stressful circumstances and moments of sadness. They get relief in knowing that the growth cycle will have dark, cold winter moments but that they will be rewarded in the spring buds, flowers and sunshine on their face.
Lesson #2: Like nature landscapes, our lives grow over time
A wonderful way to understand ourselves and the growth process is to plant a garden. Many of the elements of gardening can apply to our own personal development. Growing a garden with your children can give you the opportunity to talk about how to direct their own personal development.
At each stage of the gardening process, you can show the parallels between the plants and their own growth.
- Preparing the soil - Creating a good environment helps seeds to grow
- Planting the seeds - Being intentional about what we want to grow is important
- Watering the sprouts - When something is starting to grow, we need to nurture it and care for it
- Fertilizing - If something needs a bit more encouragement to be healthy then we give it more attention
- Weeding - Sometimes, there are thoughts or events that get in the way of the seeds we have planted and we need to remove them
Gardening gives us excellent language and examples that children will easily understand when compared to their own experiences. We are often anxious to see results in our lives and the lives of our children, forgetting that like landscapes we grow and become more beautiful over time. With each mistake that is made, we gain a wealth of knowledge that can be used the next time we plant a seed.
Lesson #3: Like nature, we find ways to adapt to our environment
Not unlike trees and plants that go dormant in periods of extreme temperatures and stress, we too have internal mechanisms that slow us down and enable us to conserve energy when we are experiencing difficult environments.
During this time of social distancing, we have changed much about the ways we live our lives and in order to protect our health and the health of those in our communities. Although it is a very new experience for some of us to be isolated in this manner, there are many examples in nature of animals who isolate for other reasons. While the circumstances may be different, seeing animals cosy in their dens, at the bottom of ponds or in cocoons could be used to reassure children that time spent at home can lead to growth and then a beautiful emergence on the other side.
I am a Life Coach for Kids, offering programs, materials, and support that parents can use to help their children discover interests, set goals and intentions, and most importantly have fun in the process. I am passionate about learning, growth mindset, nature, and emotional wellness.
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