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Monday, June 13, 2011

Garden Hero

One of the joys of a teaching garden is the impact it has on young people. Many of the lessons in the garden are planned, but just as many happen in surprising and unexpected ways.

This past weekend our Shalom Teaching Garden was vandalized. The beautiful Star of David bed had most of its gorgeous strawberries, basil and lush herbs ripped out and strewn about the park. It was a harsh reminder on Monday morning that not all people are as willing to embrace and care for the garden's potential.

I walked my kindergarten students out at morning recess and they helped me search for and retrieve missing plants. Like mini-CSI partners they tried to imagine what happened and why anyone would harm a garden in a park...especially one they worked hard to create, build and plant in. Why would someone with footprints that big do something so mean? One student placed her hand on my shoulder as I was replanting a wilted strawberry plant and said "I feel so bad because I know how hard you worked on the garden". If only her incredible five year old compassion could be shared with the perpetrators.

Later today I had a phone text from a parent who's son (grinning ear to ear in the above picture) was struggling after school to make sense of the senseless. It was he who during the earnest but ultimately fruitless search for the remaining plants stated "well, maybe they needed the plant more than we did". Again....Wow...wisdom and compassion in the garden from a recently turned five year old. This same little guy and his mom took the above picture for me at a local nursery where they went after school today to purchase replacement plants for the Star of David garden bed.

Shhhh....it's supposed to be a secret. Tomorrow morning when he scampers in with these beauties it will be hard not to weep with pride! As usual the student has become the teacher.