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April 18, 2012

Don't pick the flowers

“Don’t pick the flowers” is a cardinal rule at our house (along with “Don’t chase the pigeons”). It is so important to me that Harriet learn to engage with and appreciate nature without torturing or destroying it. Not every experience needs to be hands-on. And so what she’s come to understand about the flowers we encounter in our neighbourhood (and gloriously, there are so so many) is that they’re still growing. When she touches them, she has to be gentle. “They’re still growing?” she asks me, looking back over her shoulder, and when I nod, she seems to get it. But we’ve made an exception for the dandelions. Not because they’re lesser flowers, but because they’re a flower of abundance. She seems to get this too. And so we gathered a bouquet on Monday morning on our way home from the library, and it’s been decades since I did this. It’s been decades since I sat at a  table with a dandelion centrepiece. I’d forgotten there had even been such centrepieces, but there were so many, and as we picked our flowers, it all came back to me. The “this was why I had a child” moment I didn’t even know that I was waiting for. And the lesson too about exceptions– as important as the lesson about still growing. How important it is for our children to grasp that we live in a bendy and beautiful world.

4 thoughts on “Don't pick the flowers”

  1. m says:

    My boys love to pick flowers for me and I love receiving them. Nothing like a fist full of flowers. So many dandelion bouquets over the years. I do let them pick flowers from our garden, but they have to ask first. And they’re allowed to pick flowers in alleyways, as long as it’s clear that they aren’t part of someone’s garden.

    In the neighbourhood we now live in, there are many, many roses. Last summer the realization that we were literally stopping to smell roses gave me almost as much pleasure as the act.

  2. Rebecca says:

    I love this post. The day after my brother was born, I picked my mom a dandelion bouquet on the hospital lawn before my dad took me in to see them. One of my earliest memories.

  3. Susan says:

    Oh wow. What a beautiful and inspiring post! My little boy is in just such a place, curious about plants being alive or dead, learning about enjoying them outside where they “live”. Dandylion bouquets – brilliant and come with amazing memories. Thank you!

  4. Kerry says:

    I recommend the book Do You Know Which One Will Grow http://www.amazon.com/Know-Which-Ones-Will-Grow/dp/1609050622 a gorgeous book about things that grow and things that don’t. “A duckling grows and becomes a duck, so can a car grow into a truck?” Either it was just a bit above Harriet’s head or she was just being annoying, but she very rarely answered the questions right. But the book is fun and might be great for a kid a bit older (or a bit less strange).

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