BY HANNAH BEACH AND TAMARA STRIJACK
Health is something we all desire for our children. Physical health is fairly straightforward to assess, as problems usually show up in terms of pain and discomfort. Emotional health, however, is a bit trickier to measure; how do we even know what to look for?
Consider this story from Tamara ...
I had a weeping fig plant that was not thriving when it was transitioned from the nursery to my home; in fact, it wasn’t thriving in the nursery either, and so I knew there might be challenges. But I was excited about my new plant and I didn't let the bit of wilting deter me. When it arrived, I placed it where I wanted it to be, so that I might enjoy its presence and it could keep me company while I worked. However, the fig plant was not so happy where it was. It let me know by shedding leaves - lots of them. At first I tried to change how much I watered it, but it didn’t make a difference. And so, I realized that something else must be going on.
I moved it to a window, closer to the sun and to its tree relatives outside. It stopped shedding leaves within a day. I had found the right conditions! I had to deal with my own frustration and disappointment, as this was not my plan for where I wanted the fig, but it was what the fig plant needed. In this process, I had to adapt and be flexible -- I had to read the signs. I was the gardener, the one tending the plant, and it was up to me to find the conditions that my plant needed to reach its potential, and do my part to help it get there.
With a plant, it seems obvious that when we see it struggling, we should try to change the conditions. Does it need more or less water? Does it have enough sun? Does it need extra care now because we were away for a few weeks? Is it a delicate plant that needs just the right situation to thrive?