Dandelions and Graduation

Every year in the spring, when I first start having to mow the yard again, I’m always reminded of something that my Grandpa Steidl used to say.  “If dandelions were hard to grow, people would want them in their yards.” I find this saying to have meaning on several different levels.  First, I think it could mean that although most people think of dandelions as a weed, they are a flower and do have beauty.

However, I think that another meaning is that part of the value and beauty of a flower is that it takes time and a lot of effort to cultivate.  A rose is considered more beautiful and valuable than a flower because it doesn’t generally just grow on its own.  You have to nurture it and work for it.  I think this is true of many things.  When you have to work for them, you appreciate them more.

This is where graduation comes in.  Yesterday was the last day of the school year for the sixth grade students at our school.  It was honestly a very emotional day for me.  As I said goodbye to many children that I’ve taught since they were in the first grade.  They are like flowers.  It took a lot of work, a lot of time, and a lot of energy to get them to bloom.  I saw them grow from tiny little six year old kids to almost teenagers.  Many of our students come to us not even knowing the alphabet.  To see them grow from that to being independent readers and writing full five paragraph essays is a true joy.

It’s always a bittersweet moment at “graduation.” (I know that they’re sixth graders and it’s not actually graduation).  On one hand, it’s really sad to see them go.  On the other hand, I take pride in the feeling of accomplishment as they walk out the door prepared for seventh grade and hopefully prepared in some respects for the rest of their lives.