“Growing Children,” Ensign, Apr. 2013, 66–67
As a young father, I felt the importance of teaching my children how to work—to enjoy working when they could and to endure it when they must. Gardening provided an excellent way to teach our children about meaningful work.
Our sizeable garden offered considerable work for the family, and we kept a variety of tools—hoes, rakes, and shovels—so that all the children could help. My wife and I often worked shoulder to shoulder with our children so they learned a consistent work ethic by our example and through their efforts. We were all companions as we learned to work together.
A productive and beautiful garden was good, but my wife and I were more concerned about the development of our children. At times we could have accomplished more work in our garden without our children pulling up the seedlings they mistook for weeds, but it was important for our children to have the chance to learn. Both children and garden grew as we all marveled at God’s creations.
Gardening also helped us teach the principle of choice and accountability to our children. The Lord taught, “Fear not to do good, … for whatsoever ye sow, that shall ye also reap” (D&C 6:33). Our garden helped clarify this metaphor for our children. They looked forward to each harvest when they could enjoy the fruits of their labors, especially the fresh strawberries.
The joy of gardening continues in our family. All our children—one daughter and four sons—still garden. Some of them have families of their own, and I’m happy to see them carry on the gardening tradition with their children.