Life’s a Garden: Dig it!

When I was a child, I have memories of being woken up ealy on Saturday  mornings to weed the garden.  I hated it with a fierce passion – so much that I swore an oath that I would never have a garden, so I would never have to weed as an adult.  Here are the reasons I hated it:

  1. We had to pull all of the roots up, not just rip the top of the plant off.  This takes more time and more strength.  By the end, you are sweaty and have dirt clumps in your bedhead ponytail.
  2. You never really know if you got the whole thing.  Many times, you would pull up the weed and it would be broken in half, even though you pulled just as hard as the other ones.  So you have to stop and dig and try to get the rest out, but you usually just end up giving up and hoping mom didn’t notice.
  3. There were some weeds that were dangerously close to the vegetable plants.  Every once in a while, I would have to leave a part of the root as to not affect the other plant.

Strangely enough, the reasons I hated weeding as a child correlate well to the reasons root causes are more difficult to attack, and accordingly, less attacked.

1. Pulling just the top part of the root makes things appear to be better, but it does not solve the actual problem.  It takes much less time and much less power to just rip off the top.  It essentially is better to have the top ripped off than nothing at all, but it will keep growing back until the root is out.  We can give people food and enough to survive on.  This takes off the top of the plant, but it grows back extremely rapidly.  When children do not have food, we need to get them food.  This is ripping the top of the plant off.  It is so much better than nothing, but there keeps being a lot of kids to be taken care of and the problem grows back faster than our resources.  Taking care of the root of this would take education, which would take generations to see benefits of.  We want to see fruits at least in our lifetime.

2. Sometimes you pull on a weed and pull up only a part of it.  There will be problems where you think you have reached the root, but you have only really begun.  I believe as we start attacking root causes, we will find an enormous amount of root causes, and we might be overwhelmed by our task.  We might focus on education, and in doing so, discover four more root causes as to the problems our world faces.

3. The weeds that were so close to the vegetable took the most time.  Some took more power, but these took the most amount of precision.  You did not want to be wrong.  So you stepped around it, looking for an alright approach.  You dug around with nothing but your hands and used your fingertips with a certain gentleness you didn’t have time for with the others.  There will be social problems that are very sensitive, or dangerously close to something positive.  When I was in India, I worked at orphanage that took in many mentally/physically disabled individuals.  About half of these people were found as babies in dumpsters on the streets of Chennai.  In the Hindu religion, the belief in reincarnation leads the people to believe that if a person is born disabled, they did something horrible in a previous life.  Therefore, the child as well as the entire family is shunned, which leads families to literally throw these children away so as to keep what little respect the family has.  This root cause comes from religion.  That subject takes so much sensitivity.  And ultimately, religion is a positive.  So we come up gingerly working around the issue because of a fear of harming the vegetable.

Weeding is hard: both in real gardens and in social issues.  But it is so worth it when it comes tomato picking time. And now, I do want a garden as an adult, fully aware of the weeding ahead of me.