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precious words from Fred Rogers

Love isn’t a state of perfect caring. It is an active noun like struggle. To love someone is to strive to accept that person exactly the way he or she is, right here and now.

When we love a person, we accept him or her exactly as is: the lovely with the unlovely, the strong with the fearful, the true mixed in with the façade, and of course, the only way we can do it is by accepting ourselves that way.

You can’t really love someone else unless you really love yourself first.

Listening is where love begins: listening to ourselves and then to our neighbors.

Feeling good about ourselves is essential in our being able to love others.

Everyone longs to be loved. And the greatest thing we can do is to let people know that they are loved and capable of loving.

Taking care is one way to show your love. Another way is letting people take good care of you when you need it.

As human beings, our job in life is to help people realize how rare and valuable each one of us really is, that each of us has something that no one else has or ever will have something inside that is unique to all time. It’s our job to encourage each other to discover that uniqueness and to provide ways of developing its expression.

how Emma became an intern at the garden

We have been visiting the Gardens of Lake Merritt since we moved here when Emma turned two.

She has always wanted to grow up and be a helper in the bonsai garden.

The master gardeners have been very patient with her and over the years invited her to watch and learn.

During the pandemic she showed up a lot more often, willing to help out in any way she could. There was lots of sweeping and raking leaves which she loved.

Now they give her small jobs like weeding with tweezers. She likes being trusted with the care of their special trees.

The docents and gardeners are mostly older and appreciate her eagerness. They tell me she is very polite and always welcome.

For a child who is stuck at home with her parents it is a blessing to learn from someone new, and to see others faces light up when she visits.

a busy week for a 9 year old

Out in the world this week was a real doozy. We had elections for the senate seats in Georgia, insurgents took the Capitol building, Congress decided to stop fighting Biden as our next president and now there is talk of impeaching Trump in the final days before the end of his term. Oh yeah, and yesterday there were over 300,000 new cases of covid-19 in the U.S.

At home, in our Oakland apartment Emma Clover has decided to take on a number of difficult tasks from cracking nuts, to making pancakes on her own and doing multiplication problems. She is trying them out and mastering them all at once. In addition to new endeavors she still volunteers at the bonsai garden, tells brilliant original stories and reads aloud chapter books with her own voices. It is amazing to witness child and human development and I am proud to see so much growth at a very insecure time in the world.