Friday, August 13, 2010

Waiting Patiently for the Goldenrod Kids

When I passed a field overflowing with goldenrod on the way to school today, they called to mind the many late-blooming students – I sometimes think of them as ‘goldenrod kids’ – I’ve taught. These are the students who are silent and inconspicuous for most of the year, but who, when the days are wandering down toward summer, start to show some small signs of blossoming. It may just be an observation or two spoken softly during a literary discussion, or a wise and stylish paragraph in an essay, or even a single written sentence that shines, all of a sudden, with the student’s irreplaceable wisdom. It may not even happen during the student’s time in my class; years later, the bashful boy or girl may return as a flourishing, full-fledged student of life, with a family, a hard-earned fortune, and a substantial fund of happiness and satisfaction. I love those golden flowers that flow across the countryside just when we think summer is slipping away, and I love those students who surprise me with their good sense and sophistication long after their classmates have blossomed. I must remember, this year, to be patient. The students in my English classes will come into flower in their own impressive way and at their own particular time: some early, strong, and steady; some late, reserved, and, for that reason, perhaps more handsome than any. I delight in discovering asters and violets shyly standing in the woods in September, almost as much as I love learning from kids who bud and bloom when the applause is almost over.

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