18: Soaked Alive

18: Soaked Alive

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Inspiration for Teachers

Soaked Alive

You can move a lot of water with a thimble.

~Martin H. Fischer

The summer was over, and I was pulling supplies and teaching tools out of cupboards, preparing for the new school term. Books, charts, rulers, pencils, and chalk appeared. So did a bone-dry potted violet I thought a child had taken home.

Before throwing it out, I decided to soak it to see what would happen. I set it in a dish on a counter. When the class came in, they scoffed at the dead thing I was displaying. I said, “It hasn’t had any water all summer. Let’s see what happens if we give it a good soaking.” Some of the children had hope, while others said it would never do anything.

The next day, its leaves started to green up. Day by day, it came alive. It produced more leaves, and then flowers. It was more than just alive; it was thriving!

That violet became our special secret — the plant that was dead was alive and growing. Later in the year, a colleague remarked, “What a beautiful violet. You just have a way with plants.”

I told her, “This is my proof that a student who seems hopeless on the first day of school may come alive and, little by little, become a child who excels. Maybe he or she will do something wonderful in the world. It is my job to soak them in as much good instruction as possible and see what miracles can happen.”

The violet had appeared dead. If I bent a twig, it was so brittle and dried out that it broke. There was no life in it. But when I gave it what it had lacked all summer, life reappeared. I like to think that we can use education the same way, to create new excitement, enthusiasm, enlightenment — new life.

~Beverly Anderson

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