How may things are needlessly judged as weeds? What makes some things less worthy to be considered as the indicators of a need? Isn’t it the weeds that show us where we need to plant more of what we do desire? But our culture is expert at sussing out ‘weeds.’ The trouble is that sometimes problems deemed ‘undesirable’ have been inappropriately condemned. Goldenrod is a wonderful medicinal plant, but is frequently confused with ragweed for causing allergic reactions. Consulting Google Images for photos of ‘ragweed’ turns up numerous pictures of Goldenrod.
‘Weeds’ we embrace in our home include: crying, anger, mess, mistakes, sadness, defiance…and there are many more! These behaviours are generally not well accepted in society, for children or adults. Our culture tries to fix them and keep them under control in an effort to create a visage of perfection. But it is in fact these darker emotions and undesirable things that are the indicators of need. Crying can be a release of pent up emotion. Anger an indicator that things are out of balance. Mess is evidence of creativity. Mistakes are the best way to grow and learn. Sadness is a cry for connection. Defiance demonstrates a need for control. Although I have simplified these greatly, there is always an underlying cause for difficult ‘unwanted’ behaviours. But it takes courage to have presence with difficult situations. Apart from fear of being judged for not keeping in line with the general populous, sitting with uncomfortable feelings and situations reveals how little control we actually have and indicates the depth of real work that needs to be done to resolve the issue.
If you want to grow fewer ‘weeds,’ consider planting more of what you do want. For example, if a child is often defiant, what are ways to give them more opportunities for control in appropriate ways? Could they be choosing their own clothes? What to have for lunch? What about engaging in play that is directed by the child and allows them to ‘boss’ around the adult? Or an extra curricular interest that allows them to control the full outcome of a long term project?
What I see happening is the removal of weeds at first sight of them. Our culture rips them out, squashes them and stifles them before they have time to be fully expressed. Many plants are considered ‘weeds’ are in fact the most useful and potent plants we can grow! In our effort to judge and keep things under control we hack down that which has potential. What opportunities are missed because we lack acceptance?