How Waiting for your Garden to Grow is Like Waiting for Your Child to Bloom with Compassion

Be Patient But Not Complacent

Picture Provided by Kelly Marie Hicks

Once your soil is ready, seeds planted, garden protected, and you’re in the routine of watering and weeding, it’s time to wait; wait for the garden to grow. At times it seems like the plants grow so fast, but then other times, like waiting for that tomato to grow and ripen, it seems like it takes forever.

It also takes patience to grow a compassionate child. There will be times when life goes smoothly, and you are pleased and proud of your child. You feel like time is moving too quickly. There will be other moments that there will be struggles and hardships. It will take time and patience.

Current society is in the mode of instant gratification. We want things now. We are busy and moving from one event to another. We don’t have time to take the time and wait. Waiting in lines can make me frustrated and anxious. It might make me late to the next thing. It feels like a waste of time. But is it a waste of time?


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I know that to eat healthy I need to take the time to plan and prepare. This also requires cutting and chopping vegetables, experimenting with spices and herbs, and making a rainbow of vegetables and fruits to eat. I know the work and outcome will be better than the instant meal out of boxes or fast-food places. It takes patience and requires me to slow down.

I think of the saying, “Good things come to those that wait.” I have never been a patient person and something I constantly am working on. I have learned that when I slow down, wait, be still, and breath, I hear things more clearly. All my senses are sharper and crisper. Depending on where I am, I hear different bird calls, bugs chirping, frogs croaking, wind blowing, traffic noise, children playing, construction equipment, the ice cream truck music, you name it, it all is so much more present. I am more present.


While waiting, take the time to be present. Be present with your child, or the person next you. Interact, socialize, engage while you wait. If you are alone, use your senses to experience the moment.

In our busy life, another saying that runs through my head is, “stop and smell the roses.” This saying is vivid in my mind when I’m outside hiking, biking, or snowshoeing. I stop and take in the beauty of creation. I wait. I pause. I breathe in. It’s exhilarating.

While waiting for that garden to grow you still need to be diligent. You must continue watering and weeding and ensuring that the plants are protected from harm. You must manage the weeds and watch the fruit that is growing. I don’t know how many times in late summer that I check a zucchini plant one day, only to find a monster watermelon looking zucchini the next!

Likewise, while raising your compassionate child, you must wait and be patient but not be complacent. Stay engaged and focused. Be there, be available, participate in their lives which sometimes mean watching them grow from a distance.

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Sometimes when I’m sitting outside on the porch just “thinking”, my husband will walk by and say, “what are you doing, watching the grass grow?” I laugh inside, not wanting to give him too much credit for basically being right. I do like looking at the grass, how the light reflects off it, how the bugs play in it, how the birds peck at it. Most times, I’m not really actively looking at the grass; I am thinking.  It’s therapeutic to watch, think, listen, and sense. To me, waiting is a lot like that, and something that is just as important to experience, even when at times it seems like a waste of time.

Wait patiently as your garden grows. Wait patiently as your child grows into a compassionate, caring person. Don’t be complacent but diligent, aware, and engaged. Be in the moment. Experience the present. Enjoy life’s journey, the next destination or outcome is almost here, and once here, there will be many more to journey. While being in the present, feel the anticipation and excitement of the fruit and the blooms that will be ripening and opening in time, in their time.

Sonja Wendt

Enhancing children’s sensitivity in human interactions one story at a time.

Sonja Wendt

Author and Reading & Seeding Leader

Cultivating Compassion in Children Books Series


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This is the tenth step in the series of DIG IN, Steps to Cultivate Compassion in Children. The others are: 1) Let’s Talk Dirt 2) Plant Perennial Seeds of Compassion That Grow Deep Roots 3) How to Water the Seed with Compassion — Sprinkle Them with Knowledge 4) Why Growing Seeds Need Fertilizing – Nourish Understanding Feeding Compassion 5) Why Seeds Need Air as a Child Needs Breathing Room – Exhale Compassion 6) How Sunlight to a Plant is like Energizing Compassion in a Child 7) Why Spacing Plants Out and Giving Your Child Space Creates Room for Healthy Growth 8) Why Protecting Your Plants from Harm is Like Protecting Your Child from Danger 9) How Weeding Out the Bad in Your Child’s Life is Like Weeding a Garden


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