This winter Emma decided that she wanted to grow a small flower garden. She started saving her money for her own gardening tools and plants that she wanted.
At the first signs of spring she was outdoors picking a spot and beginning to clear the weeds and debris. Pretty soon a couple of younger neighbor kids came over to see what she was doing. Soon, she announced that she would have a gardening club. Every Saturday, at a fixed time, all club members should come to my house and weed.
The following Sunday, Emma mentioned to my 11-year-old niece, Katherine, that she had started a gardening club. She told Katherine, in elaborate detail, all the fun things the club members would be doing. Katherine only lives a few blocks from my house and begged to be part of the club. She is now the most faithful member, never missing a single Saturday.
On the weekly weeding fests, the girls discuss what they want to plant. They announced one Saturday that in addition to flowers, they are going to plant carrots, radishes, beets and maybe thyme. The spot the kids were clearing out front is great for flowers, but a tad shady for veggies. So, I recommended they pick a spot out back.
Their response was something like, "Oh can we?! You'll let us have two gardens? We'd love to have a flower garden and a vegetable garden!"
They worked so hard last week in the vegetable garden that Wendell was actually able to rototill the spot.
One Saturday my mom stopped by for some reason and the cousins went nuts wanting to show Grandma what they had done.
"Wow!" my mom said. "What a lot of work you've done! Can I see your hands?"
The little girls thought this was weird, but obliged. Emma's hands were white and clean. Katherine's were caked with mud.
"Yep," Mom said with a giggle, "that's what I thought. You're hard workers."
Emma's greatest strength is showing people what to do and being positive, while not actually doing much work. (She holds a mean rake, though.) What I wonder is, does she know how effectively she's manipulating club members or does she actually think she's helping? Either way, she's a genius!
And, of course, this is a win for me. I get two flower beds weeded and planted and the only stipulation is, they get to plant what they want. Plant away! It's definitely less work for me, and fewer weeds is always a positive outcome.