If you joined us on Back to School Night then you’ve heard me discuss the analogy between parenting and gardening. The analogy comes from Dr. Alison Gopnik a psychologist whose 2017 book The Gardener and the Carpenter examines parenting through the lens of carpentry and gardening and how these two hobbies represent different philosophies on raising kids. She suggests that
…being a caregiver for human beings is about providing a protected space in which unexpected things can happen than it is like shaping a child into a particular king of desirable adult.
In other words, you can plant some tomatoes and tend to them, care for them, keep the squirrels away (gardening), but you can’t demand that each plant produce a set number of tomatoes, or that the size and shape of the fruit are to exact specifications (carpentry). I first heard about Gopnik’s book on the podcast Hidden Brain (check out the episode below). I highly recommend it as a conversation-starting listen.
I’ll reiterate my message from last week that, I love being at St. Thomas because it is a fertile garden in which to grow our kids. The kindness, patience, and individual attention that our teachers and staff pay to each of the kids ensure that, whatever they are going to grow up to be, it’s going to be something wonderful. Let us tend to our garden.