In my TIOSN class yesterday, my classmates and I each gave brief presentations on the herbs and vegetables we’ve chosen to research this year. As I mentioned in last week’s post, my herb is the Mullein plant. My vegetable is the Toscano Kale, and all of us are very excited to be studying our respective plants. You could feel the enthusiasm in the room as we shared the information we’d acquired thus far.
Discussions frequently brought us around to the available “real estate” in the school garden- specifically, where would we each locate our plants. There was much debate, such as “Will it grow there?”, “Will it work like that?”, “Will it thrive in our zone?”. Consistently, our teacher Nigel responded with, “I can only guarantee one thing- if you don’t plant it, it won’t grow.”
I really like that guarantee. I think it applies on multiple levels- not just gardening. All of our choices in life, we’ll never know if it works unless we try, right? But if we need to know one thing for certain, then we should know this- it won’t happen if we don’t try. It’s an interesting spin when we’re faced with an uncertainty, and I’ll be using that line in my classroom, as well as my parenting. When answering a child’s question of wonder, it can be easy to give a response that’s been determined by your personal experience. Why not leave the answer a mystery for them to solve? Give them the courage to seek out the answer, and let them own their discovery- let them find their own guarantees.
As for my plants, I’ve been inspired to experiment with multiple techniques. My conversations in class opened floodgates in my research. I look forward to that spring day when I can get my hands into the soil to see what works and what doesn’t.
And Nigel, thank you for that guarantee- what a great way to teach how to be fearless.