Supporting children keeps them rooted, healthy and developing to their best potential. Giving enough support to the whole child and not just the selected favourite parts could be a way to gaining a fruitful and productive life.
Nature shows us that different support is needed at different times for different plants. Support needs change with different seasons and growth patterns. Each child needs different support at different times. All children however, need support to grow into their best. Every seed planted has a potential for growth and produce with different support at different times.
Some plants need complete support to grow and produce fruit, such as grapes, granadillas, and beans. The grape vine has a fragile skeleton on its own and relies on support from a trellis. Grapevines fascinate me because at this winter time of the year, they look barren and yet are pruned. The trellis gives support through the different growing, rest and pruning seasons. Many children go through very difficult experiences, poor health, neglect and abuse, disabling conditions, mistakes and tough home circumstances. Each of these may be just another season for a child, but they need to lean on someone during that period. Let us be brave to give enough support to all our precious children through all the seasons of their lives, the autumn shedding, the winter pruning, the spring flowering and the summer fruiting.
Tomatoes, eggplant and pepper plants need to be staked for upright growth and to hold the ripened fruit. Gardeners need to watch out for hungry caterpillars and snails who also enjoy the plants and may affect them negatively. Observing and listening to our children’s stories and thoughts is deeply supportive. I always feel so much better when someone has really heard my story. There does not need to be encouraging words but even a quiet and understanding nod may say enough. Let us see our children for their endeavours to grow and learn. Let us really listen to our children’s stories without judgement but holding their growth of ideas and experiences.
Trees take many years to grow into maturity and planting a tree can be a long term investment for the next generation Trees need stakes that are changed with their growth patterns through the years. A stake tied too tight and left too long can grow into the stem of the tree and throttle growth later on. Too much support can stifle growth and the strength of the tree stem which if unsupported could break with the first gust of wind. Our children are a huge investment for our future generations. Let us give children the support they need, just enough to grow stable and withstand winds of influence but not too much to stifle their growth.
Some shrubs don’t need a stake for support and are happy to grow and flower while also being blown by the wind, warmed by the sun and showered with the rain that is available. These plants don’t seem to carry heavy fruit, nor flowers but can just be their carefree selves in the wind. There are a number of resilient plants that have survived the drought in Cape Town. Some children are able to survive the toughest circumstances and experiences, which we could call being resilient. However, I can’t help wondering about these robust children whose potential is lost in the drought of kindness and compassion. How could these resilient children thrive and not just survive with the support of others? Would better support lessen the need for belonging to gangs and criminal groups? Let us give the support that each child needs and want more for our children so that they do not merely survive but thrive.
We all need enough support. It is not about the best support, which may be too much or too little, but rather just enough support to thrive. Enough support may differ according to the character and interests of the child. Enough support may differ in quantity; some children need more support and others less. We all need enough support to produce the fruit of our best endeavours. Let us give enough support to our children for their best growth and development. Let us notice how support helps us to grow through all the seasonal cycles of life.
I have different roles; occupational therapist, mother, wife, friend and sister. I am curious about life and how little children grow to their potential with the support of parents, families and the wider community.