The story is about a sunflower, Suzy, that blows into a perennial garden. Mr. Gardener considers anything that he has not planted, a weed. Therefore, he considers Suzy, a weed. Mr. Gardener does not know that Mrs. Gardener loves Suzy and how much joy she brings to her each day.
This story is about “welcoming” something or someone new or different. When something new is added or happens, it can add more love and joy. Too often it is felt that when something is added, especially when unplanned, it will take away from what we have. It is a story about inclusion and acceptance.
Sonja Lange Wendt is an award-winning author of the Cultivating Compassion in Children books series. Her books are intergenerational and address important and sometimes difficult topics with children on inclusion, acceptance, disabilities, bullying and aging. Serina and Seymour Seed kick off and end each story. Seymour and Serina are the seeds of compassion children have, but sometimes they need planting and nurturing to cultivate the best in them. Through increasing awareness, understanding and discussion, these books teach that using compassion in different situations shows kindness in the greatest way in this sometimes difficult to navigate world.
Sonja uses a variety of setting and characters from grandparents, little girl, little boy, and bugs to engage children in the stories. The settings all include nature and the outdoors. Each story ends with thought provoking questions to be asked by the adult and discussed with the child.
These books are generally fitting for children ages 4-8 but as C.S. Lewis states, “A children’s story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children’s story in the slightest.” Her books are brilliantly illustrated with vivid colors and scenery.
"The only difference between a flower and a weed is a judgement," according to Dr. Wayne Dyer Just like a gardener needs to manage weeds in the garden, we also need to manage weeds or unplanned events in our life. There may be times when we need to open our arms and welcome something or someone new into our life. We need to listen to where we are being led and be accepting to new possibilities. At the same time, depending on the situation, we need to keep our eyes open and ensure that whatever this unplanned event happens to be, that it is something that will allow us to positively thrive and grow.
Why would Mr. Gardener consider Suzy sunflower a weed when a sunflower is not a weed? She wasn’t part of his planned perennial garden so by that definition, a weed. And let’s face it, sunflowers are hardy and do spread quickly. They sometimes can be difficult to manage. For these reasons also, they often get labeled, a weed.
Weed Appreciation Day is March 28. Go out and hug a weed. Appreciate those unplanned events in your life that keep your life interesting, challenging, and often, rewarding! See the flower in the weed. You make that judgement call.