When do we give ourselves credit for making efforts to improve our lives, our world and ourselves?
I see the scenario repeat itself on a daily basis. A well-meaning person sees a news report, reads an article or skims a Facebook post about the dangers of [insert your choice of dangerous items here]. They are understandably horrified and want to do something to make things better for their family.
Perhaps they want to grow their own vegetables. They’ve read about all the chemical pesticides in store bought produce, the negative environmental and nutritional impacts of monoculture farming practices and the sad facts about food miles. They head to the local box store and pick up everything they need to get started. Excited, they post about it on Facebook or other social media. That’s when it happens – they find out they aren’t doing good enough.
- They shopped at a box store instead of a local independent garden center (IGC).
- They bought hybrid seedlings instead of heirlooms, or their seed isn’t organically raised by a reputable company.
- Their garden soil, fertilizer or other soil additives are made by a company with a negative reputation in some gardening circles.
Three strikes in a single shopping trip, and we wonder why more people don’t want to garden.
The same thing happens when someone wants to save money. They clip coupons and shop store sales, then they’re guilty of shopping at stores that they should be boycotting, stocking up on too many prepackaged convenience foods and generally feeling like a failure after spending hours of their valuable time just trying to save money.
I hereby request that we all take a step down from our chosen soapboxes long enough to accept that sometimes even the smallest step forward is good enough. We would all love the financial and health benefits of having a backyard garden that would supply all of our produce needs, but in 2012 it is unrealistic for the average person to be expected to invest the time, energy, space and resources required to make that happen. Can it happen? Sure it can, but few of my professional gardener colleagues even manage it.
A more realistic approach might be to see those baby steps as positive momentum. A small potted herb on the kitchen table for someone who has never had so much as a house plant. A longtime rose gardener giving up a couple of feet in their garden to start tomatoes.
Those small steps are often enough to give people the “gardening bug” we talk about so freely, but only if we back away from our own individual agendas long enough to applaud the effort and encourage them to find their own gardening groove.
Take steps to ensure that the good you do outweighs the bad. Everything doesn’t have to be good any more than every food you eat has to be listed on your diet plan.
If you’re aware and making efforts to improve, it’s good, and it’s good enough.