|image from oliviastravels.com|
As the children filed into the elementary building, bright eyed & bushy tailed, a little boy walked in with a fistful of dandelions. Proudly he presented his bouquet to his teacher. She graciously accepted the gift, patted his head and walked her class down the hall.
A second teacher observed the gift and leaned into another woman, looked annoyed and said, "I never accept dandelions! I mean I know it sounds harsh but students have to learn that dandelions are really weeds. Right?"
I was appalled.
You see, here's the great thing about children: they are children, innocent and full of life. Children are so trusting and simple. They have the ability we've long lost as adults - to see the beauty in something so common.
Of course dandelions are weeds! Isn't that evidenced by the millions of dollars homeowners desperately spend trying to ride their yards of pesky clover, creeping charlie or deep-rooted
But aren't dandelions also flowers, fun to pick and entertaining to blow? I can't imagine any scenario in which a five-year-old needs to be taught dandelions are weeds. They'll figure it out soon enough. How dare we rob a child the fun of gathering up a bouquet, the experience of blowing on the fuzzy seeds or hurry them along during a walk when they wish to stop and admire the soft yellow petals.
Perhaps it ridiculous that we'll ever accept dandelions as anything other than weeds but could you consider that a bouquet of dandelions is more about the act of giving than it is about the gift?
A child who picks flowers has no regard for plant biology. They've yet been taught that roses are superior to the likes of dandelions or any other weedy flower commonplace this time of year. If a child has taken the time to collect flowering weeds for a bouquet it's because they are learning the basic etiquette of gift giving. To refuse this offering from an innocent, botany-ignorant child is to teach them that you don't value an act of kindness, only expensive gifts. This, my friends, is a very dangerous lesson to teach.
Interestingly, dandelions can have real meaning and purpose. I recently learned herbalists consider
the common dandelion a valuable herb with many culinary and medicinal uses. Turns out they are a rich source of vitamins A, B complex, C and D, as well as minerals such as iron, potassium and zinc. Dandelion leaves are often used to add flavor to salads, sandwiches and teas. In fact, some coffee substitutes use dandelion roots and the flowers are used to make certain wines.
This article originally appeared as a part of my Practical Parenting series for The Daily Review Atlas last year. I've revised and reposted it for an awesome link up I've found with a group of bloggers & writers from www.yeahwrite.me - a writing competition of sorts! This is an awesome group and I encourage you to check out their link ups. You don't have to write something to vote either! Shoot, you can vote for me!
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