Want to Perform Magic: Plant a Garden

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Photo by Mervyn Chan on Unsplash

Planting vegetables feels magical. There is just something amazing about watching the process of a plant go from it’s starting point to a vibrant piece of food that can be eaten. I have always been driven to find a way for my family to eat out of a garden all summer long. I have failed a number of times at having a successful garden. Maybe failure is only an illusion.

I think it is one of the coolest things for kids to take part in the experience of growing something that they can eat. I can still remember walking into my grandparents garden and eating cherry tomatoes. There is something about growing things that makes summer feel complete. I like the idea of watching something slowly appear before my eyes. Gardening seems pretty doable, but I have to admit; I have failed a few times in really getting it going.

Three years ago, I was about 50% successful with planting a few vegetables. I started my plants too late, and many of the seeds that I planted never really amounted to anything.

I did end up being able to eat a little bit of basil and a couple tomatoes or so very late that season, but I did not feel as though I had really been successful. Just as I would do with teaching, parenting or running, I had to assess what was going well, and make a few changes. The key this year would be finding a way that create a garden that would work with my lifestyle.

All of a sudden I had an idea. I told my husband that the perfect Mother’s Day gift would be to not only buy the plants for the garden, but to plant them. Having the garden ready would save me a trip to the store and save me a considerable amount of time and energy during one of the busiest months of the school year!

Sure enough Mother’s day came, and it was time for the big reveal.

It was as if the magician had waved his hand, and poof there it was. I opened the curtains and there it was, a garden. I realized that being honest about the help I needed and directly asking for it made a big difference. It made room for magic.

A bucket list item was fulfilled. The kids enjoyed watering it, and eating from it. The Mother’s Day garden is a tradition now. I love the surprise of what my husband picks out. I love the fact that the garden is ready for me each year.

Once I had the opportunity to a magical space fueled by sunlight and water, I decided it was time to try my hand at learning an official trick.

Since asking for help with my garden had gone so well, I decided that it would be a good idea to do as I tried to learn a trick. I read about a few educators who were able to use magic in the classroom to get the attention of students. My love of watching a magician perform tricks went back to watching David Copperfield on TV.

I love being swept up in a created illusion. Time escapes and anything is possible.

Learning how to perform a magic trick felt impossible, and still does. As a kid I had tried a few card tricks out, but never really found something I did well. I realized even if I failed this time, it would be interesting to explore trying to learn a new trick. I needed to find a trick I could try out quickly, as part of a mini research assignment in computer class, I had my students explore websites that would show directions on how to do basic magic tricks. I had them fill out a Google form with the sites so I could quickly go through all of them and choose the trick I would master.

As I looked through their suggestions, some of the directions felt quite complicated. I noticed that I was really searching for something with only a few materials and very brief directions, so that I could be successful with at least one trick! I struggled as I attempted a few tricks. However, just as I felt like quitting, I struck gold with the Phantom Coin trick. I was so excited to be successful!

When I was able to see the third coin appear between the other two I had in my hands I truly felt like the next David Copperfield!

After having mastered the coin trick, I wanted to try one more. I believed I had it in me to master another challenge and then would be able to wow not only my own kids, but my students next fall.

I found another trick with a penny and a balloon; but after two attempts could not figure out how to “magically get the penny in the balloon”. After some more digging, I stumbled upon Magic Murry’s videos. He had one that showed how to do three tricks to impress your friends at school. The tricks included an apple, crayons and a ruler. After watching the three tricks, I realized that I could definitely do two of them. I was able to do the tricks with the apple and the box of crayons at a very basic level. I am going to work on my skill level to hopefully have a mastered trick to show my students this fall.

Planting a garden and learning a magic trick included trial and error. I realized that I had failed a number of times.. I love the quote that says, “FAIL: First attempt At Learning”. Through these experiences I have realized a lot about myself that I am proud of. When I set my mind towards doing something. I am proud of the fact that I persevere even when things got tough. I also realized that asking for help was a great strategy. I also needed to be honest about where I was really at. I realized that I needed to simplify both goals.

I like how Henry Ford says that, “Failure is the opportunity to begin again more intelligently”. Failure is truly a gift, and it is in a way; magical. An expeience with failure is only an illusion.

I am a wife, mother, educator, writer, reader and marathon runner. I blog at EnjoyingEveryMile.com and chase my impossible. Follow me on Twitter at @lmcdonell14

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