Special, mental, not normal, weird, different, stupid, useless, disruptive, unteachable.
Labels, just labels, just nasty little labels.
One of my other jobs used to be teaching gardening at a school with kids who, at different schools, at one time or another, had one of these labels carelessly and unkindly thrown at them, and do you know what, those labels stick, and sometimes those labels don’t come off.
But there are some people who spend all their time brushing away at those labels, unpicking the glue they are attached with, be they parents, Occupational Therapists, Speech and Language teachers, sign language teachers. These people have a label too, they are heroes, but so too are the people who are having the labels brushed off.
Gardening is therapeutic, be it the repetition of a task, the completion of a task, the fact that you get a physical workout or, in my opinion thinking about something else that allows one’s own anxieties to fade a little. Gardening can be done by anyone, regardless of age, gender, ability and it boosts confidence I don’t think these are trite words, I see it happen all the time:
The lad who can spend 45 minutes sowing onions. The girl who takes her time to find bulbs that have been forced out of the ground and replants them. The boy who will happily spend 30 minutes washing dirty tools. The boy who apologises before he speaks to you in case you think him impertinent.
My favourite used to be the boy and girl who approached their teacher, to tell him that he is cool and does he want to be in their band. Upon being told that the teacher is neither musical or tuneful they told him it doesn’t matter because it’s his trousers that are cool. For someone who has never been cool, I was thrilled my trousers were.
But my own favourite at the moment; my pal who is trying to come to some sort of terms with his Mum’s death who is creating a memorial garden for his Mum and chats endlessly about his Mum when he is focussing on planting sweet peas and Dahlias.
Insightful, joyful, amazing, heart-warming, polite, beautiful, oh, and cool.
Much better labels, don’t you think.