Frog and Toad can teach us some good life lessons. Have you read their story about the garden? Toad sees Frog’s beautiful garden and decides he wants one. So Frog gives him some seeds.
Toad plants them and impatiently watches for them to grow. He paces beside the garden; he shouts at the seeds, “Start growing!”
Frog reassures him: “Leave them alone for a few days. Let the sun shine on them, let the rain fall on them. Soon your seeds will start to grow.”
But Toad wears himself out trying to do everything he can think of to make those seeds grow. Finally he falls asleep, exhausted; and while he is not looking, the seeds sprout.
“And now you will have a nice garden too,” says Frog.
Toad agrees, but adds, “It was very hard work.”
Lessons from Frog and Toad
While we may smile at Toad’s unnecessary exertion and stress, we may also see a little bit of ourselves in him. Charlotte Mason taught that the goal of education is growth: “Children learn, to Grow” (Vol. 1, p. 171). Yet sometimes we forget some of the basic principles of growth and get ourselves all worked up over what we see or don’t see. Let’s take a breather and remind ourselves of four basic truths about growing.
Growth happens down deep where we can’t see it.
So much of growing occurs under the surface, especially preparation for blooming. Just because we can’t see a dramatic change in a child (yet) doesn’t mean he’s not growing inside. Be patient.
Growth shows up in spurts.
We’ve probably all seen a physical growth spurt in our children over the years, and other types of growth happen in spurts too. As much as we would like to think that education is a steady climb in a certain direction, it’s not. Just as with all of life, there is ebb and flow; a time of resting and preparing, then a time of moving ahead.
Therefore, we would do well not to confine our focus to just one day of education, or one week, or one month. We can get a better perspective if we look at a whole season of growth. How has the child grown over the school year? How has he grown comparing this year with last year? Look at the big picture.
Sometimes we run ourselves ragged when we don’t need to.
Poor Toad wore himself out trying to do everything he could think of to push those seeds to grow. He didn’t realize that he was already doing what was most important: providing good soil, a sunny spot, and rain. He just needed to calm down and add some time.
Some of us just need to calm down and add some time for a child to grow. It’s easy to stress out when growth hasn’t appeared by our self-imposed deadline. But if we have provided what is most necessary, there is no need to run around looking for ways to force that natural growth.
So what is most necessary? I hear some of you asking. That is the question we will be discussing over the next few weeks. Read on.
Growth is a natural process in the right circumstances.
God made plants to grow in the right set of circumstances. And He made people the same way. Growth will happen if we focus on three essential things.
- Provide the right atmosphere.
- Pull the weeds.
- Nourish the plant.
Over the next few weeks we will look at each one of those essentials for a growing time. Not every plant will look the same; each one’s growth will be unique. But we can encourage that individual growth if we make sure of these three things. It doesn’t have to be as hard as some of us make it. Trust the process.
Education is all about growing, not just knowing. I hope this series will be a good reminder to us to be patient, look at the big picture, calm down, and trust the process.