Saturday, February 04, 2006


When I was teaching young people for Streetside Stories, I worked in the classroom of this incredible teacher, Ms. Williams. Many of the public schools Streetside works in serve young people who are struggling academically, financially and behaviorally. When visiting these schools I would often notice that many of the staff had low expectations of the students, but not Ms. Williams, she always kept her expectations high. If a student was late for class or forgot their pencil, they were not allowed into class. You could hear her firmly and quietly telling the student at the door,

"Do you think when you get a job that they're going to let you keep that job if you're late or forget the things you need to bring to work? Come back tomorrow when you are on time and prepared."

I think she had been teaching for about 30 years. When I asked her how she had been teaching for so long without getting burned out she said,

"If an adult does me wrong, it takes me a long time to forgive them, but if a child misbehaves in my class or doesn't do well academically one day, I give them a clean slate the next day.

Children are like seeds. Some of them you'll see come up in the fall, some in the spring and some you'll never get to see come up at all. Your fulfillment has to come from planting them."

We planted a Ribes sanguineum in our front yard last May. I had just finished a Gardening with Native Plants class and was excited to plant some native plants in our garden, especially a Ribes sanguineum. I love hummingbirds and hummingbirds love Ribes sanguineum.

I took the photo in this blog post of a hummingbird in a Ribes sanguineum. See the whirr of wings towards the top?

Anyhow, we planted the Ribes and waited (they don't bloom until February or March). It grew, a little, and then started to get this brown stuff all over its leaves

I tried picking them off, but they just kept coming back brown.

A couple of months ago it looked so bad I told my friend Abby from Urban Sprouts that I thought it was dying and was going to pull it out.

"You haven't even had it for a year," she said, "Give it some time."

So I left it and then this week the most amazing thing happened, it started to bloom!

I'm so excited.

You just never know when or how the seeds you plant will grow.

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