The other day I noticed this beautiful sunflower on the verge of blooming. Two bees were scurrying about in the center where seeds will eventually form. It was perfect timing for a day early in the new year. Months before this moment of unfurling, I devoted considerable time and energy to protecting the seedling that became this lovely flower. I found a good place to transplant it when it needed more space to grow. I kept the young plant covered from birds until it was tall enough to be left alone. In other words, I gave it the best possible start it could have to eventually grow into a hearty full-grown sunflower.
Coming back to school this year after a two-week break was like no other time. I began writing this yesterday as our U.S. Capitol was under siege, Arizona was and still is ranked number one in the world for COVID-19 cases per 100, 000, and our country’s transition of power is in chaos at best. It’s hard to keep my mind from spinning out of control. It all feels overwhelming and unbelievable. As I watched the scenario in DC unfold, it once again made me feel grateful for our work here at the Seed. Certainly there is the sense of knowing that we’re providing an essential service at this extremely difficult time in history. It’s a substantial distraction to keep our minds on the day-to-day activities with children, rather than taking in a steady diet of the news cycle. In preparation for a deeper dive into social justice topics with our older students, I read a few articles that invited me to explore other reasons for appreciating our work at the Seed.
In “Making King Real for Students Today,” when we study King’s life and contributions, the question we ask shouldn’t be about what King would march for today. Instead each of us should ask is, “What am I marching for?” Working at the Seed is a form of marching, in my opinion, so the question really addresses the intentions of my work.
As I reflect on what I’m marching for, I think of the sunflower I so carefully nurtured in my garden. I am marching so that each child has a safe, happy, filled-with-possibility childhood. My feet march to help sustain a learning environment where children are curious, creative, and inspired to follow their interests. More recently, I’m consciously ramping up my intentions to be more aware of injustices, particularly regarding race. Along with that, I am seeking ways to refine the extent and skill by which I share these teachings with others. I march for the heart and mind of every child. I march for the planet, that it will be healed and brought into balance, so that each child, no matter what they look like, or where and how they live, will have an equal chance to live a full, meaningful life. I march to ensure that, like my little sunflowers tended in their youth, all children will have a chance to unfold in the sun.