Tag Archives: #teaching

For Survivors…Some Lessons From A Garden

Lately, I have been spending more time in the evening outside with my garden…my plants, my flowers, the earth. I have a disease that is making it almost impossible right now for me to be in the sunlight.  I have been mourning parts of who I used to be, while fiercely trying to adapt…to acclimate and navigate what I may become. This is new to me and sometimes the grief is heavy.  However…there is a gift that seems to be an integral part of this painful process.  The gift is being alone with my thoughts (but not in a scary way…) I am in solitude, yet feel one with the earth…in my garden, in nature. Not in the sun…but in the quiet hours of dusk, through the stillness…through the quiet, gentle breezes…If I am able to quiet my mind and listen closely…I can sometimes hear the lessons being gently taught.

Lessons from my garden

Upon looking at a flowering bush that was all but  “dead” two springs past… The one I was being encouraged to  chop down and discard, and I ALMOST  conceded to, but did not, because…HOPE! This is what she whispered to me last night…(if you take issue with my plants metaphorically speaking to me, stop reading…like, right now…seriously… I won’t be offended. She had a lot to say! )

So She Spoke…

“Just because I “look” dead…does not mean I am dead!  Give me time. My own time. Not your time. Nor someone else’s ideas and pressures of time. Won’t you help me out a just a bit? I will have to do most of the work, (the really tough inner work)… but perhaps you can help brush away the dead leaves, the ones that are making it hard for me to grow. Might you even trim my branches? Just the ones that you know for a FACT are hurting me…for this will allow my other less fractured ones to grow even stronger. ”

Prior to this…She was hiding…resting…invisible…Branches barren and fractured, looking like there was no hope. In her own time, she became what she was supposed to.

“If it seems someone did not know how to care for me in the past or perhaps even harmed me by planting me in the wrong environment…maybe you can learn about how to help me take root in a new space. A space that might be more suited for what I need to thrive. However…once you help me move, it’s going to take me time to learn, time to learn about this new and healthier space. Perhaps… to even know I have arrived somewhere new. I beg you… Please, give me time to adjust, time for my roots to take hold…I am not used to being in conditions that are well-suited for my heath. I am not used to all of  this potential!”

“Just because It is good for me…and YOU know it’s far better…I will still need time to understand that I am really here…in a place with more favorable conditions for my survival.  In my own time, I may learn that sunlight and water and rich soil that is filled with nutrients, is in fact, better than the darkness I had  so grown so very accustomed to. I didn’t truly understand I was in the darkness, I even learned to like the darkness… don’t you see? I didn’t know my conditions were as unfavorable as they might have been…for they were all that I knew.”

“So my friend, just because YOU know it’s healthy and better….does NOT mean that I don’t deserve plenty of time to adapt and learn, on my own, HOW  and WHY it is better.  So please, PLEASE… don’t over water me just because I never had enough of it in my life. Give it to me little by little.  Don’t keep telling me how wonderful it is on this side…let me come to that on my own. Check on me from time to time, come and sit by my side every now and again.  You just might be surprised that although I may not be perfect (and who amongst us is?) and I may not always use or “appreciate” all of my resources like it seems the others do, Ya know…the ones that have always lived on this side of the garden? Even still…I will still grow. One leaf, one branch, one petal and maybe even one blossom at at time”

“And please remember this…winter will come again. The seasons will change, the ground will shift, the temperature and climate will not always be optimal for me. I will fade. I may be buried and I may even “look” lifeless. But as we know, it seems that things are just as they should be. And when that time comes again…just help me brush off the remains of  seasons past. Perhaps even honor those decaying leaves…for they protected me from the harshest of weather. Maybe, to you, they do not look pretty, but to me… those are the very things that kept me alive and warm through the storms.”

snowone

“Please don’t be discouraged by my reluctant pace or my damaged and misshapen branches or blossoms. Instead…Sit in AWE of my tenacity, my resilience, my remarkable ability to survive all I have. To have survived and still be counted amongst the living!  I am my own unique miracle. So THANK YOU…thank you friend,  for not giving up on me and for giving me the time and the space I needed to grow and to heal. It may not be how others would do it …but it is the way that seems exactly right for me.”

“I do like it here on this side of the garden and believe it or not…I am even teaching the others that were born in just the right place, a thing or two that they may need to better survive these harsh, unpredictable winters.  In return…it seems, they may be showing me a little something…like how to not be so very afraid of such an abundance of all of the things that I had always needed…but didn’t even know I had been missing.”

And That Is What She Said.

So…as you can see…we all have something to learn. Lately,  it is me being the student and nature being the teacher. And that is just fine. As long as we remain teachable and open, you really never quite know, from where the lessons will come from.

beauty

Coaching: DON’T DO THAT!!

verbal_bullying_mean_teacher_coach

DEAR COACH,

I get it…you are the coach of a middle school sports team. You are important. You have the ability to create amazing, positive experiences for 12 year old boys who are LOOKING UP TO YOU. I also understand that your team is losing every single game and that must be super fucking frustrating for you. Do you know who else feels frustrated??? YUP. The little dudes on your team!! Do you even see their sweaty, out of breath faces? Do you watch their heads gazing down at there filthy cleats as they walk off the field at the end of the game that they lost 14-0?

Do you see their eyes looking to you for guidance, acceptance, or a “Hey…you lost, but you guys played with all your heart and you practice 7 days per week and you have endurance and we will get better as times goes on…chin up boys!” Nope, You don’t see them looking and waiting and wondering what the feedback will be and what words you will choose and how it may build them up or simply crush them down.iStock_000002351658Small-700x200

They wait…They get back on that bus…those dirty, defeated, exhausted 7th grade boys and they talk and try to laugh and you tell them…NO!! They should not laugh, they should not feel happy…They should sit and “think about why they lost?” REALLY DUDE? I am pretty sure they are already thinking about that and they’re laughing and playing around and talking to one another is their way of trying to reclaim some piece of their fractured and still developing egos.

I know my boy…this week alone he has had between two teams, collectively 14 Games. So far he has lost every single one of those games. For that matter Coach, YOU ACTUALLY KNOW THIS…yet, you have your “team” run sprints for making SIMPLE mistakes in practice. DON’T DO THAT.

YOU sit boys out for an entire game for having to go to A MANDATORY religious ceremony to practice for an upcoming HIGH HOLY DAY… He is your starting player and shows up for every SINGLE practice, you don’t let him play. DON’T DO THAT.

In your huddle, when you could be building these boys up, with tough YET inspiring words…instead you choose to call several children on the team ‘TRADERS’ AND BENEDICT ARNOLD…for playing on another team that is not their own town (no matter the circumstances) DON’T DO THAT. That sucks. (and pits kids against their own team members. you should know that. Or is that your goal?

You have decided, after I chose to keep my child home from school with a back injury after being hurt in a GAME…That you should tell him in front of his ENTIRE team…”OH, SO NOW YOU’RE GONNA BE THE GUY WHO JUST SHOWS UP FOR GAMES?” DON’T DO THAT.

The kid who was 12 minutes late for class that day…and you have the whole team RUN twelve sets of sprints because “somebody” was late for class and school is important? Don’t DO THAT.

THESE are all of our children, these are your children…you have in your hands a FUCKING GOLDEN opportunity to fill these kids UP…with spirit and pride and the idea that winning is awesome but it’s not the whole damn package.

You Coach…have been given a gift…You are abusing that gift…you are perpetuating the kind of old school coaching that now falls under that perhaps sometimes overused (but not in this case) word of BULLYING.

I implore you Coach…think before you speak…look into the eyes of those young men, who look up to you with every ounce of their being. THINK!!! DO YOU WANT TO BUILD UP? OR IS YOUR MISSION TO TEAR DOWN?

LOOK at the heads staring at their worn out cleats…try telling them to “Pick up their heads…hold them high and understand the character and dedication it takes to stay on team that loses every damn game”…Tell them to be PROUD OF WHAT THEY DID RIGHT instead of “think about what they did wrong”.

And so, a team that loses every game and practices every single day…hmmm, dear COACH…perhaps you should think about what YOU are doing wrong.I MEAN YOU ARE THE COACH..and one more thing… at night when you go home and laugh with your wife or your buddies or kick back and grab a cold beer…
DON’T DO THAT.

SIT THERE AND THINK ABOUT WHAT YOU ARE DOING WRONG. Then why not hit the back yard and run some sprints for being such a DICK.

Sincerely, Every Boy’s MOM