Life's Tool Box – A Guide for Parents and Educators

August 8, 2013

Driveway Petunias and Thoughts for the New School Year

Filed under: Uncategorized — by Life's Toolbox @ 10:56 pm
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Every time I pull into my driveway, a hint of pink makes me smile.  There, nestled between the crack between two concrete sections is bright pink petunia.  I did not put it there.  I have no idea how it got there.  I did buy a flat of petunias at the start of summer, and filled the pots at my front door and office entrance with their cheery blooms.  But I certainly did not plant one in the driveway, yet there it is!

As August arrived, and as it seems to be speeding by, like so many educators and parents, my thoughts are turning to September. What message might this late summer random petunia offer for the start of a new school year?

There is no doubt that this year, like all years, teachers and parents will find themselves facing interesting students, children and situations that they cannot explain.  Like my mysterious petunia, these will occur without our choosing, and deny explanation.  We could focus on the “wrongness” or spend time thinking of who is to blame.  We could react as we do to many novel and unplanned situations – with anger, upset, and the strong will to quickly and totally eliminate the problem – to “root it out”.

I suspect my wayward petunia initially resembled a weed, one of many that have made their home in our driveway cracks.  Had the summer been a bit less inhumanely hot, had I been less busy, had I allowed my need for order, neatness, and curb appeal to take over, I would have pulled the plant from its unlikely home before its pretty pink blossoms ever brought me cheer.

Pulling out of the driveway today, leaving the petunia in the morning rain, I thought of the year ahead, and the endless possibilities it offers.  I hope I, along with all parents and educators, will greet the unexpected with patience.  I hope we will look at the things that don’t belong, that seem unusual or out of place, and see the possibility that, with time, they may enrich us.  And I hope we will recognize that even when the children and students in our lives are in our way, mess up our plans, are not at all what we wanted, that we will still nurture their growth.  I hope we do so not with a fragile hope that with our love and care they will blossom.   I hope we meet each challenge, each unwieldy student, each unpredictable child knowing with absolute conviction that with time, and love, and care they will survive even in life’s toughest moments and places.  Then we will be worthy parents and educators, and our homes and classes will be graced with petunias, daisies, roses, and all manner of wonderful surprises.




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