Where are you from originally and how long have you lived in town?
I grew up in Florham Park and recently moved to Harding.
Child(ren) and Age(s)? Anna just turned 10 and Aidan is turning 8 in a few days.
One thing people would be surprised to know about you… I don’t actually have a garden at home. I am not much of a green thumb..hahahha!
Anyone special you’d like to thank for helping you through parenthood?
My children are the inspiration behind You Are a Gardener™ and all that it is growing into but I have to thank my friend Lauren who planted the original seed. She had been at a mediation class and her instructor compared stress and anxiety to watering weeds. When she told me about this, this was my light bulb moment as there was something about that image that stuck with me. It occurred to me that my daughter who had been struggling with anxiety for the last couple of years was watering weeds her instead of her flowers. It was the same night I sat my kids down and told them that they were gardeners growing the most beautiful gardens inside of them, The flowers were the happy things like baking cookies and snuggling. But, every garden has weeds and the weeds in our gardens are the things that make us feel sad, scared or mad. I asked them if they had any weeds that day at school, and they did, they actually had quite a few. Just telling me about their weeds I could see their shoulders come down and they seemed more relaxed. It was at this moment I realized I wasn’t talking to my kids like this everyday. We talk about homework, who they had lunch with, songs they learned, but we were not talking about the things that stressed them out. That same night after the kids went to bed I was inspired to write about what had happened that day and that is when You Are a Gardener™ took root. But how it started to change our lives in a positive direction is what inspired me to self-publish it in hopes to help other kids and families out there.
Favorite things to do with your kids?
Getting out in the community and talking about our program. It is so amazing and inspiring to see my kids connect with people of all ages on a subject matter that is so needed today’s culture. Their confidence, passion and enthusiasm for spreading seeds is truly breathtaking. To some it looks like we are working but for us we are bonding on such a special level. I am truly grateful to have this experience with them.
Are you involved in a business venture, a local organization, a creative endeavor, or in the corporate world? Please share!
What started out as a children’s book has grown into an entire program dedicated to planting the seeds of social and emotional education for kids to use at home and in school. The platform I have created at youareagardener.com continues to take root and grow into tons of resources for families, educators and kids. From our monthly video series Hello Gardeners™ where Gardener Anna and Gardener Aidan help other kids pull their weeds, to scheduling workshops for schools, to free resources for teachers to our brand new #PullYourWeeds Blog. There is so much room to grow and so many ways to help do our part to make the future a brighter place for our kids!
How has this community been instrumental in getting you to where you are now?
With all the amazing people I meet from therapists, parents, teachers, counselors and educators, everyone is an agreement that the stress level in kids is at all time high and we are seeing younger and younger. From the workshops I do in schools for teachers and students to selling books at a festival the appreciation and passion for what we are doing is so genuinely embraced that it consistently inspiring new ideas and seeds to plant. We have spread so many seeds over the last year and a half it is incredible at what is starting to sprout.
To watch Shanna’s garden grow, following her on social media, or to book a workshop reach out via her website.