My garden is overrun with chamomile and strawberries. I could pretend that this has something to do with my hours upon hours in the garden, but my time there is mostly spent staring at bugs, chasing snakes, and reading bad novels.
I planted a few strawberry plants a long time ago, and over the years they have wandered to the patches best suited for them, thumbing their runners at me the few times I tried to change their minds.
A couple of years ago I carefully nurtured a couple of chamomile plants, intending to harvest some leaves for tea. One survived despite my care and now I have a backyard full of lacy seedlings, and every one of them germinated without my help.
Now and again I'll stumble on a high school kid who knows what she likes. They're rare. Knowing what you truly love requires a lot of faith at any age.
Words mold us--we are social critters, and folks trying to make a buck depend on this.
A child today has access to all kinds of music and words and pictures and thoughts. Still, most of them follow a narrow, shared path, steered by the words of strangers.
I am not talking about the children striving to be obvious, to be seen, the child who changes hats every few weeks.
Among the children are a few, often quiet, who put their time in the school building while creating interesting lives outside pursuing what they love. Interesting children become interesting adults, despite what I do to them in the classroom.
I became a better gardener when I learned to let the plants tell me what worked best. I might do well to consider doing the same in the classroom.