Saturday, October 7, 2017

Sifting Through Life: Planting Seeds

Photo Credit: Cory Watson
This is an image from across the street from our home.You can see the Bay Bridge in the distance.That is where the ocean is.

I have mentioned before that my son loves ham sandwiches.  Well, it is no surprise that today he came home and opened the refrigerator and pulled out the ham and cheese.  Isabella and I are sitting at the table working through the last few assignments of school for the day.

This begins a conversation with Drake about the experience he had as a homeschooler.  My comment that Isabella is a bit of absent-minded professor made him laugh.  He could relate. Drake said that it was tough for him to focus at home too. Then he proceeded to mention to me that he doesn't remember anything from his years before 9th grade. Well, let me tell you, for a brief moment my tender heart stung. How could he not have remembered the lesson we did for the Rain Forest?  With the huge tree we made, the animals we colored, the stories we told.  I poured myself into those years trying to make learning fun and memorable. He sat there so nonchalantly expressing to me that he didn't need those years because NOW he was learning everything he needed to know in college.

Then I had this thought.

As parents, we taught him to read and write. We gave him the opportunity to grow and learn what he wanted to learn. Yes, it was not rocket science which was the core of his learning, but it was just as important. Without the skills of these two very simple concepts he would not be able to become what he sees himself doing in the future, that is to become an author.

In my own motherly way, I asked him if he felt that his experience of receiving his education at home had planted any seeds within him. He thought for a moment and said, yes.

We talked about those years and I expressed that my years of educating him from home had taught me too. I learned that if the love to learn was not a priority then my children would not be forever students. I learned that my job wasn't to train them to be this or that, ut to plant seeds in a variety of fields so that one day they could hone those skills which they enjoyed the most.  With the hope that someday the seeds we planted at the kitchen table would bloom into beautiful flowers.

Educating Isabella at home is not about math, science, and reading. These are very important but she must enjoy learning before she can be a student, and eventually, a teacher herself.  Cultivating this desire to learn is very important to me. As a child, education was never talked about.  Survival was the name of the game and once we turned 18 we were on our own. I left home without the proper skills or desire to further my education. Something, that to this day, I crave.

A promise to myself when I was newly married, involved making education a priority in my kids' lives.  I wasn't going to ever rest from teaching them to love the process of educating themselves. My dad, who I reconnected with when I was 18 years old, and who had not been around me much, said to me one day out of the blue. His words still ring in my ears, "You're street smart Sherron.  You have an instinct that makes you a quick study.  Learning will be easy for you." Those words, learning will be easy for you, have driven me to further my own education. In many ways, my dad was right. Learning is easy for me today because I have the drive and desire to learn and be forever a student with the idea of knowing that I am also the teacher to my kids, my family, my friends, and my community.

What I hope you take from this message of planting seeds is that we are all students and teachers to those around us. We all have the ability to plant seeds, watch them blossom, and then to harvest those seeds to replant again and again. We all have the ability to nurture and care for those around us through our example, our values, our beliefs, and our kindness.

My hope, as a mother and as one of their many educators in life, is they nourish their desire to love the learning process. Along with learning, I hope they understand the importance of teaching too. In my mind, they go hand in hand throughout our entire lives.

Education comes in many forms. From early formal education in the form of primary, secondary education, upper-level courses, doctorate programs, and certificates to self-taught, apprenticeships, online schooling, youtube videos and there are much more ways to learn than what I have expressed here. The idea is that life is our classroom. We are all its teacher. At one point in our life, we have all been students.

I would love to hear your ideas of how you have planted seeds in your own life to those around you. Are you currently a student? or a teacher? or both? Do you love to learn? What are you currently learning?  Through our shared stories, we learn from each other.

Have a fabulous day!

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