I happened along this poem recently and it sums up my philosophy of life. It certainly is the heart of the farm and the reason why I work so hard to connect children and nature. It’s everything. It’s the joy, the work, and the meaning of life. It’s everything I want for my daughter. The magic of life is in the Small Wonders of it–whether they be joyous, ordinary, or tragic.
I am thinking a lot now about the joy and sadness of every life. We have a dog, an Australian Cattle Dog, that came into our lives 2 1/2 months ago. We are his permanent foster home and he is a hospice patient. We are his family. The family he took 13 years to find. We call him Spots. I will write more about him soon.
Now, I am ending a long day of planting seeds and plants, working soil, and finding joys in all the details—from the little garter snake in the greenhouse to Spots napping in the sun, to my daughter squealing with glee as she swings so high that “it makes her tummy feel funny.” It was a perfect day. I’m bone tired and content. We had a good day. There was nothing extraordinary about it–other than its complete ordinariness.
Make the Ordinary Come Alive
Do not ask your children
to strive for extraordinary lives.
Such striving may seem admirable,
but it is a way of foolishness.
Help them instead to find the wonder
and the marvel of an ordinary life.
Show them the joy of tasting
tomatoes, apples, and pears.
Show them how to cry
when pets and people die.
Show them the infinite pleasure
in the touch of a hand.
And make the ordinary come alive for them.
The extraordinary will take care of itself.
By William Martin, The Parent’s Tao Te Ching: Ancient Advice for Modern Parents.