Potter vs. Gardener

I believe there are two main types of parents in the world: the potters and the gardeners.

Potter parents envision their child as a piece of clay that needs skillful handling to make it become a beautiful pot. This involves the shaping of the clay, wedging (the process of slamming the newly mixed clay against a hard surface to knock the air bubbles out. Air bubbles will cause a clay object to explode in the kiln) firing and sometimes glazing. For the potter parent, there are a lot of things that can go wrong in the process, and most of them reflect his/her skill.

Then there are gardener parents. A gardener parent believes each child to be a seed. Could be an oak seed, a daisy seed, or a grass seed. Each beautiful in its own way, each requiring different conditions for optimal growth. The trick is, you don’t know what kind of seed you have when you start. The gardener parent puts his seed in the ground and waits to see what sprouts and how it responds to the current conditions. Then she adjusts the conditions and waits to see how the sprout responds.

Both kinds of parenting are hard work, the main difference, I suppose is trust. The potter parent believes it is only the environment of the clay that molds it, while the gardener parent believes that the seed knows what it is meant to be, and there is a dialog between the gardener and the fledgling plant that create optimal conditions for growth.

In case you can’t tell, I’m a gardener.


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