I’ve worked all week long cultivating other students‘ growth. It’s tough tending other people’s growth all week. Saturday, I caught up on “me time” and now Sunday arrives.
They always wake me from my slumber too damn early. This particular Sunday morning is like the rest of ’em, I wake up because of the sound of pattering footsteps coming down the hall with more and more vigor, volume, and vitality by the second.
Karis, my oldest daughter, crosses our bedroom’s threshold and I behold infinite worth. It’s a little girl whose legs lengthen by the day and whose awareness and intelligence bounds toward heaven. Her eyes radiate innocence and hope. The twinkle in her eyes and the promise of her future waters me with strength.
She jumps on me while I sleep with the reckless abandon only a child can muster, “Daddy, I’m hungry. Can I have something to eat?”
“Yeah, baby I’m getting up.”
I roll over to Amy, my wife, whose faithful love melts my heart and give her a kiss. I inhale deeply, stretch my arms to the ceiling, then propel myself out of bed.
After I rub the sleep out of my eyes and take a few steps into the hall, I notice the golden Southern California sun’s rays crawling through the window. There are no shutters or blinds on that window so sometimes the sun can be particularly bright. The hardwood floors in my old 1950’s style house in Long Beach, CA crackles with each step.
While holding Karis’ hand, we make a left into Lily’s room, my youngest daughter. I see my other growing angel standing in her crib with a smile on her face exposing her front eight teeth growing in. I pick up Lily, and I feel love’s harvest overflow from my chest for her as I place her onto the changing table. She grows stronger by the minute. She kicks, she plays, she does all that she can to make changing her diaper the challenge of my day.
After completing the first challenge of the day, ￼changing her, once again, I pick her up in order to take her to the family room where both of my girls wait for breakfast. I turn on the T.V. for Karis and place Lily into her high chair. Then, I make my way into the kitchen.
As I prepare breakfast, something within speaks to me telling me to slow down for one moment in order to take a look out the shutterless, blindless kitchen window.
I obey the voice within and take in the sight of an orange tree, geraniums, and green grass growing so beautifully in our yard. Pools of tears fill my eyes because I realize something profound. Namely, growth is happening right before my eyes and if I’m not careful I will miss it. Better yet, if I want to be part of that growth I must create conditions for growth to happen around me. I am an agent of growth.
The profundity of my epiphany fades dropping me back off to the mundane yet awe inspiring task of creating conditions for growth for those I am responsible. Creating conditions for growth is monotonous. I often miss moments when growth comes to bloom.
If you aren’t careful, the same can happen to you. Slow down and notice the growth you cultivate.
Here are some things you can do to make sure you don’t miss the growth you cultivate:
- Write down growth you see after each day.
- Reflect on the people you are responsible for and notice the ways you’ve gardened their growth.
- Reflect on other teachers, parents, or mentors whom you know. Write down ways they’ve successfully grown.
- Plant something and grow it.
- While teaching take notes of what’s happening.
You work so hard to grow yourself and others so you should take time to notice. Don’t miss the growth happening all around you.