I’m pulling weeds in the garden and planting new flowers. The garden is full. It’s huge. Truth be told, it could have been a little bigger–I’d have filled it. A million things poke through the soil–some in rows, more in random places where I stuffed them when I ran out of room–overzealousness. I can’t wait for things to grow–I plant more daily.
I am installing marigolds along the fence, one by one, a million of them–the best defense against rabbits, I’m told. I dig holes, and stuff flowers in holes. Dig more, shove more in the ground. A line is forming. Shovel and flower hovering, next flower ready… Two leaves rise up from the back of the hole.
“Hey!” they say, “What’s the big idea?”
“Sorry. Just planting the marigolds. Didn’t mean to disturb.”
“Well, watch yourself! You just planted here last week. I’m trying to grow. Do you MIND?”
“True,” I tell the zinnia seedling, and pat the dirt back around her. “I forgot. I’ll try to remember.” I stuff the marigold row an inch forward and leave the zinnia be.
I get so excited watching new life pop up and grow, that I don’t wait for things to take root. I plant on top of plants, I accidentally rip things up, mistake things for weeds…never really knowing if the first plant was growing the way it should. Sort of reminds me of school.
We have all these measures, initiatives, and changes–some are necessary, but others never really get a chance to take root, because there’s always another thing to plant, hole to dig, things to disturb. Sometimes, we just need to wait–if we do, beautiful seedlings will emerge. If we encourage them, remain steadfast and patient, and allow them to be nurtured by the sun, they will flower. It is magic.
In management and business, it takes time to assess the effectiveness of change. There are mathematical equations for this. I’ve worked for corporations that made major change upon major change, putting the organization in chaos, never really knowing which initiative drove business. In education, it often feels the same way. Sometimes we demand effectiveness immediately–it’s important. We behave as if there’s a pedagogical magic wand putting us back at the top of the mountain for all the world to see. “If we just do this…we’ll be number one. In every category. Again.” That causes chaos. It pulls the zinnias out by the roots. They never get their chance to flower.
Change takes time. Assessing change requires patience. Growth cannot be rushed. It’s science. Nature. Cyclical. To expect anything other than what is truth in nature to be true in education would be absurd.
Sorry, little zinnia. Thank you for the reminder. I won’t disturb you with a big flashy marigold just because it has a big orange swirly flower right now. Honestly, marigolds smell terrible. They’re a bit ostentatious. I’ll wait for you to bloom–it’ll be spectacular. Even if it does take a little bit longer.
[images: blog.cameronleger.com and flowerscape.blogspot.com]