Have you ever really stopped to think about where greatness comes from? Really – I mean where great things come from. They don’t just pop up, they grow: great ideas, great events, great people who do great things. Each of these has a beginning, a seed. Whether we are talking about a person who creates a great movement such as Martin Luther King, Jr, or a great company such as Google, each has a small beginning – a seed.
This past week end, the pastor at my church, Father Gary gave a sermon that really got me thinking. It was about sowing seeds and providing rich soil for those seeds to grow. He cited another great speaker who often started by asking such questions as, “Who was John Thorpe’s coach?” or “Who was Einstein’s second grade teacher?” The emphasis wasn’t on the great person, but who planted the seed in that person.
Of course, it got me thinking about how we as teachers have the opportunity to plant seeds everyday. (And those of us who are parents have even more responsibility to plant seeds!) So, the first questions then become
- Do you plant seeds in your students?
- Do you give them opportunities to explore and grow in both their interests and their needs?
And then you may ask
- How do you plant and sow those seeds?
This is the tricky question. Planting and sowing isn’t a one shot deal, you have to work at it, persevere and believe in what you are doing as well as the people or idea you are cultivating.
Again, as I write this I am in constant self-reflection. In my classroom, how much time do I allow my students to really practice the skills they need to practice or explore their own passions. As with so much, these things can be pushed to the side when you have time constraints, test preparation, curriculum demands… you know the drill.
But with so much else that I write about, knowing how important this topic is, I know the answer is that I need to find the time, to create the balance where students are able to follow their passions and accomplish what needs to be done.
So, as my summer is well under way and I am thinking ahead to next year, constantly planning in the back of my mind (I know we all do it!), I will be thinking of this image for the beginning of the year – how will I sow those seed in my students?
How will my garden grow?