Today was wonderful.
Franklinton Gardens had a work crew of high schoolers come out today to volunteer. When I brought a group of them over to the garden at our house our neighbor kids naturally ended up in the garden with us trying to help. There was about 10 of them. I kept trying to find jobs for them to do, because they are so eager to help! They really only want to do jobs which include the use of tools somehow. I gave them three push mowers to start and they beautifully figured out that two at a time can do it if they each hold one side of the handle. Two by two they were holding onto the push mowers and cutting down grass as a team. “Look Ashley, we sharing this thing” (Awan).
After the grass was cut I gave them all shovels to help move some mulch and finally after all the work ran out they asked if they could just start digging holes. They were in the back yard where its just a bunch of dirt so I told them yes, it’d be helpful.
I love having them here even if they are just digging a hole in the dirt because they like to work and it occupies their time and makes them feel needed. They feel like they have been given a job and they need to complete it. They love learning about new tools and love being given the responsibility of using them.
A few weeks ago a kid who lives on our street, Vikeem (sp?) stopped by when I was outside building lettuce window boxes and he desperately wanted to help me drill in the screws. I was being anal and hesitant at first because I wanted them to be just right, but so did he, and so we worked together on that and built them perfectly. He’d never used a drill, said he has seen people use them and had always wanted to. I’m so honored that I got to be the one to teach him how to use a power drill. Thats cool. He said that maybe he could go into construction when hes older because he can drill and I told him he should.
Anyways, back to digging the holes. The kids kept finding things as they were digging (bricks, rocks, plastic, trash). When they found the brick they thought that maybe a house was under there and they could dig it up. Someone else thought that maybe there was treasure, or gold, so they kept digging. What a joy to overhear their conversations about what was under the ground.
Eventually we had to take the work crew back so I told the kids we had to go. But they wanted to come, and they wanted to carry all the tools so I brought them with me to walk the work crew back. They helped some more over at the farm house with a project Ryan (a friend of ours in the neighborhood) was working on. He was really really good with those kids. He was teaching them all kinds of things about garden beds and somehow even made it fun for the kids to shovel piles of mulch onto burlap sacks. He had a great way of engaging them while teaching them and kept calling shovels full of mulch “blobs.” Then started calling the kids blob-erators and they just ate it up. Then thwere asking questions thinking blob was a real garden word. I love seeing them smile and laugh at stuff like that. especially the ones who always try to act so tough. I was so proud of them. And Ryan too for being so great with them.
Then all 8 or 9 kids and I decided to walk up to the bike shop because they have been dying to see it. So we started that hike. Kids walk so darn slow. It was a nice walk. Nice to hear them interact with each other and I felt like one of them. I felt like a kid hanging out with my friends, roaming the streets. We went up to the bike shop, popped some bubble wrap, got a sense that we were bothering the boys working and decided to head home.
I loved being with them today. What great friends to have. What sweet little smiles to see and laughs to hear.