Copyright © Louis Schmier and Atwood Publishing.

Date: Sat 3/27/2004 4:44 AM
Random Thought: A Lesson From My Garden

Spring has sprung. I'm in the garden feeding, weeding, spraying, mulching, planting, transplanting, designing, admiring. The gallaria, amaryllis, bearded iris, and roses are already beginning to bloom. The echinacea, coreposis, pineapple geranium, tiger lilies, daisies, and stokesia are getting themselves ready to burst open. The rudbekia, regal lilies, and rabbit ears are revitalizing themselves. And, I am biting at the bit to plant and tend my caladiums. So, my thoughts have a spring to them.

All this is a lead-in for a very "wintery" message I received a couple of days ago from a young teacher. He is a friend of mine and once was a student in some classes with me. He told me of three students in his class. They are, in his words, "a pain," "troublesome," and "disruptive." He describes them as "total racists who I can't anything with." He described how he was "not very kind to them," had "lost it," and "angrily exploded" at them in class. He ended his message with a defeated, "I can't wait for the term to be over."

I replied that if he couldn't wait for the term to be over, it already was. I have found, I told him, whenever I believed there was nothing I could do with a student, I was right. And, I wouldn't attempt to do anything. If, however, I believed there was something I could do with a student, I was right. And, I would do whatever and for however long it took me to do it.

As I wandered through my garden yesterday, I was thinking of him. Among my reawakening, budding, and blooming plants I saw a lesson for both him and me. You know, I, my mind and heart, am like my garden: my feelings and outlooks and beliefs and thoughts are bulbs I'm planting and plants I'm tending. And, only whatever I plant and tend in my soul will have the opportunity to grow. I can choose which bulbs to plant in my attitude; I can choose the plants to tend in my outlook; I can choose what will bloom in my heart. Whatever I want to grow I plant and tend, and what I want and tend will grow. The garden of my soul is in my hands. I design its landscape. So, I can plant and nourish the bulbs of fear, doubt, anger, frustration, irreverence, thoughtlessness, pale heartlessness, impatience, hopelessness, confusion, and resignation; I can plant and nourish bulbs of inspiration, watchfulness, awareness, sensitivity, confidence, enthusiasm, admiration, glowing reverence, tenderness, kindness, joy, thoughtfulness, hope, patience, commitment, love, faith, and belief.

This is the power I have in my garden. This is the power I have in the classroom. And, I have to decide how I am going to use it every day. For if I have any chance of having beautiful flowers in my garden, I have to have beautiful flowers in my mind, heart, and soul. I always have to dare to dream. I always have to believe in miracles. I always have to work joyously for them to occur. I always have to open my eyes to their beauty, my heart to their magic, and my mind to their possibilities.

         Make it a good day.


         Louis Schmier      
         Department of History
         Valdosta State University
         Valdosta, GA  31698                 /~\        /\ /\
         912-333-5947              /^\      /     \    /  /~\  \   /~\__/\
                                 /     \__/         \/  /  /\ /~\/         \
                          /\/\-/ /^\_____\____________/__/_______/^\
                        -_~    /  "If you want to climb mountains,   \ /^\
                         _ _ /      don't practice on mole hills" -    \____

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