Thursday, September 20, 2012
Bluegrass Pride: Grandparents can reinforce ‘green’ foundation, values for grandchildren
By Deborah Larkin
It’s official – I’m going to be a grandmother! My daughter is pregnant, and the baby is due just in time for Earth Day.
I have a legacy to uphold, and some really big shoes to fill. I adored my grandparents, who always let me know that I was the apple of their eye.
(Photo from Creative Commons)
I grew up in Lexington. Though life was slower paced in the 1950s and 60s, I was a city kid. So going to Granny’s house was a big treat. Homegrown vegetables and fruits were simmering on the stove, fresh caught catfish (because it was my favorite) was frying, and the cornbread was in the oven. After hugs, I would slam through the screen door, out to the garden, and shinny up my favorite tree. From there, I could survey it all – the jungle of Granny’s flowers, Grandaddy tying his prize winning German tomatoes to the gutters (they were that tall!), birds picking at the cherries and ants carrying away the leftovers. I usually had a book with me, and would cozy in to read until supper was ready.
No wonder that when it came time to declare a major in college I surprised my folks by choosing Horticulture rather than French or English. Or, that my husband and I chose to raise our family on a farm.
My grandchild will be born “green”. My daughter and her husband own a small goat farm in rural Kentucky. They make their own soap and cheese. They are organic gardeners. They recycle and drive a Prius, and will make conscientious decisions about diapers. So what’s left for me to do? What can I offer a grandchild who already has such a “green” foundation?
A colleague’s mother-in-law has Summer Camp for her grandchildren, and that sounds like fun! Between Scouts and Bluegrass PRIDE, I have gathered quite a portfolio of activities. But I think the greatest gifts that I can share are my time, my undivided attention, and a safe place in nature for a child to wander.
No time constraints – just gathering sticks and stones, observing clouds and birds, animals and insects, watching the seasons turn and the leaves fall. That child will develop an innate understanding of the circle of life, and a respect for “all our relations” in nature. I am content that my role as a “green” grandparent will be to reinforce that foundation.
Deb Larkin joined Bluegrass PRIDE in March, 2010 as an Environmental Educator. She works with numerous schools in Fayette County as part of PRIDE’s partnership with LFUCG, and is responsible for outreach activities in Boyle, Clark, Garrard and Lincoln counties. Deb received her B.S. in Horticulture from the University of Kentucky. Before coming to PRIDE, Deb worked for 27 years at the Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill, near Harrodsburg, where she researched and re-established the 19th century apple orchard, herb garden, and heirloom seed industry. She resides in Boyle County, and enjoys Tai Chi, Hopi philosophy, gardening and wildflower hikes.