Green Grass Guilt

Who doesn’t like a nice, pithy saying designed to make you think?

I love them. I used to think this kind of saying was included in that category. But it’s not.

This is guilt.

This is judgment.

This, my friends, is condemnation.

Because if your grass isn’t green and you gaze longingly at someone else’s beautiful lawn, you must be at fault.

But sweet reader, this is so often not actually true.

There are so many other factors to “green grass”. Could it solely be a result of someone’s hard work? Yes. Absolutely. And is it possible that your crummy grass is because you’re lazy or stupid? Yes.

But, is it likely?

No. There are simply more factors than one person’s efforts at work and many of those things are out of our control. And most of us are truly doing the best we can with what we have.

Keeping grass green is a lot more than “watering”. You have to keep pets, yours and the neighbors’, from peeing on it and causing those brown burn spots. You have to protect it from folks wearing a path through it. You need to have good soil, adequate, but not too much, sun and water.

I don’t know about you, but I can’t control the sun and water. Mitigate sometimes, but not control. I can’t control the neighbors’ dogs. And, I can’t even control other people’s steps. I can threaten, cajole, entice, but not control.

Sometimes you get moles or other critters that sabotage your efforts. They’re not out to get you or hurt you, but they sure can cause some damage.

Maybe you’ve carefully prepped your soil and planted your seeds. Maybe you’ve tenderly nurtured those little shoots. Maybe you’ve even gotten a great lawn going.

But maybe the sun shone too harshly. Maybe you had house sitters one summer that didn’t water or allowed their dog to dig holes. Maybe you even had someone be purposefully malicious knowing that hurting your grass would hurt you. Maybe the seedlings were trampled before they could take proper root. Maybe weeds were introduced before you could even get to your soil. (That happens, right? Sometimes things look good and it isn’t until effort and time is put in that you find out the soil was actually full of weeds.)

I totally get the point of these kinds of sayings. Gazing longingly toward what we don’t have can be really harmful, causing discontent and confirming beliefs about our lack of adequacy. But these sayings are too simplistic and even worse, they are mean. They suck life. They condemn. They alienate.

Photo by Song Spicer

Photo by Song Spicer


Life, and green grass, are complicated and for those who toil with little or no reward, encountering these statements across your Facebook feed are just salt in a wound. It is easy to tell someone they should be watering more. It’s quick, simple. But the truth is, most don’t know the kind of work that went into our respective lawns. Tedious work. Behind the scenes work. Multiple solutions work.

Before we tell people to quit looking at the beauty they see around them and “water their own grass”, maybe we should help them see what is in their control and what isn’t. Let’s help them see the truth and reality that some places just don’t grow grass and that’s not their fault. And, it’s ok to admire that pretty grass and wish you had some too.