Monday, October 29, 2007

Get it Right the First Time

There's frost predicted tonight so I covered up the plants in the garden in an effort to keep them alive until spring. We planted garlic, onions, parsnips, kale, and radishes; something ought to make it. Having never tried to winter anything over, I don't know what will happen. I suppose if everything dies we'll just be staring from zero again in the spring which is where we usually start from. I love the book Being There where the caretaker, Chance, talks about the garden and everyone assumes he's using the garden as a metaphor for life, when in reality he's just talking about the garden.
Gardening is a metaphor for life. It involves accumulating knowledge slowly, season by season, year by year, one mistake at a time. It involves working with outside forces that are often beyond the control of the gardener. One should never start a garden and then stop after just one season, just as a homeowner should never single-handedly lay a wood floor in just one room. Once the knowledge has been acquired, it must be used over and over and tweaked to fit new circumstances - in the bedroom, in the hallway, in the living room, and so on.
The same could be said for parenting. It stands to reason that we should gain experience, learn from our mistakes, and become better parents with each offspring. What a waste to take all that hard-got parenting know how and not put it to work a second time. On the other hand, and from a personal perspective, have I really learned that much in the past five years? I've learned that you can't believe what you read in parenting books and magazines. Kids like choices for example:
me: "Do you want to stop hitting your brother or go straight to bed when we get home?"
(long pause)
me: "Well? What's it going to be?"
him: "I'm thinking."

song: Get it Right the First Time • artist: Billy Joel

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