Please Plant This Dream

Please Plant This Dream

Richard Brautigan, one of my favourite authors from the 60s, once wrote the passage in his book “Please Plant This Book”:

“The only hope we have is our

“children and the seeds we give them

“and the gardens we plan together”

(http://pleaseplantthisbook.com – Lettuce packet)

Let me begin by saying that I am not a parent. I was never blessed with children and I celebrate each and every one of you who is thus blessed. Lately, as though the Gods wanted me to see another lotus petal unfolding, I have been around more and more younger children. I am amazed, of course, at what I see in their faces. I was at a park when a young man of about 7 months was first introduced to a tree. It was really amazing to watch him run his hands of the bark of the tree and to sense this vibrant, living creature interacting with another vibrant living creature. What I saw was a distinct sense of wonder.

Feeling a tree or feeling the earth or a plant or grass is a distinctly different sensation than feeling a plastic toy or a sewn doll or anything manufactured. If we expose our children to nature and the Earth Mother, they will feel comfortable with nature and the Earth Mother. Recently, I was with a toddler when he was sitting in a pool and he did something very natural for a young child: he slapped his hands into the water. In doing so, the water splashed up and totally soaked his face. I held my breath in anticipation of his sudden wetness and, to my sudden and ultimate surprise; he giggled and kept right on splashing. He celebrated the water and his getting wet. He marveled at the feel of the tree. He was mesmerized by the feel of the blades of grass. He sat and listened to the sound of the wind invigorating the leaves in the trees.

Nature is an active playground and the Earth Mother welcomes everyone to her verdant fields, hills, and forests; she welcomes everyone to the shores of waterways, brimming with sound; she welcomes everyone to watch out the ever-changing story that is told in the skies. Perhaps if children, or better yet, if people, are raised around nature, they will not feel so separated from nature. I, as a child of a gathering of years, still marvel and wonder at the clouds, stars, and other celestial wonders that flow by my window or over my head.

I have a friend who has a young daughter who prays with her for morning devotionals. Let me clarify this – she doesn’t accompany her mother for prayers, she participates with her mother in prayers. At two years old, how is this possible? Someone once told me that children learn by example. This is a situation where, on a daily basis, the mother gets up to honour Ushas, Vedic Goddess of the Dawn, and her daughter would accompany her. After a while, her daughter would pray with her and, should the mother tarry in getting to the altar, her daughter would reminder her by stating “Momma, pray?” Recently, this has expanded to “Momma, Ushas? Pray Ushas?”

I am awestruck by the power of these words. The recognition of prayer by a child is a powerful thing. The recognition of the deity to whom the prayer is focused is already another. Often I hear neo-pagans commenting on ways in which to introduce their children. Do they send them to Bible school to get that “other” religion and then let the child, saturated with years of alternate ethos, choose if a different system serves them better? Do they let the child find its own way, applying little or no moral training and hoping for the best, lest they become orphans of the storm? Do they try to teach them the myths of a culture that once served as a background to a people who had neither Internet nor iPhone and employ images that may not apply at that well in the current day?

An old friend of mine, Cecil, once said “kids may not listen to you, but they sure watch what you do.” In this spirit, perhaps the best thing to do is to include one’s children in one’s devotional practice. Let them SEE what you do; let them HEAR what you do, let them FEEL what they feel and see if it resonates with them. If you are a person of good moral character, which I assume is true, then your children will watch your approach to things and will subscribe to that same moral code, by osmosis that you do. Tell them, from time to time, why you are doing what you are doing.

While there is value in telling the old stories, perhaps there is better worth is showing our children our own practice, built upon the works of the past, tempered by time and practice, and made new and shiny and vital in our 2015 way.

“The only hope we have is our

“children and the seeds we give them

“and the gardens we plan together”

The seeds that we give them are our practice and our gardens are the works we do together. Plant a seed in the garden of the Earth Mother, add love and water, and she will return a bounty. And what a bounty that will come to be.

#adruidsprogress

 

One thought on “Please Plant This Dream

  1. Antonio

    Beautiful text. I live in Brazil and have two sons and one daughter. I am always trying to put my children in contact with nature. Even when it’s raining, I invite them to draw or to paint on paper and they used to draw animals, flowers, trees, sea, sun, etc. I think the greatest obstacle is the lack of time of modern parents. Unfortunately I see children that don’t know (I said ‘know’ and not ‘want’) how to play with toys, stones, sticks, etc like we (adults) used to play in our childhood. They only want to play on computers and other gadgets. It´s so sad.

    Like

    Reply

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