Wednesday, January 12, 2011

of schooling and choices

toward the light

a child comes forth into the world
and is schooled by all that is not him, not her,

from the gardener of the parent who works the ground
so that roots can run deep,
who tends the growing shoot so that it can reach toward the light,
to the bracing realities outside that have their own center
with which the child must deal,

the pain of mistakes, every thwarting,
the school of hard knocks,

and early on that which grows discovers the power of cusps, choices,
the possibility and need to act, and react for one’s own self,
and, if possible, for the good of a larger self:
a sibling, a friend,
anything that is best that seeks to be,
that also reaches toward the light,

I am blessed:
I know parenting,
I know grandparenting,
and I know teaching,
in middle school I work hard as a teacher
to let growth explode into empowerment,
first as the nurturing gardener
who supports the natural growth toward the light,
and also the bracing teacher
who pushes the corrections to keep the growth true,

I love visiting the early schools, the 3-5 year-olds,

for there,
where the growing shoots are ready to lance higher
while early in their time away from the home,
teachers can have a gift
to know and support what works already
in the reaching toward the light,
and what to do to help clear away obstructions
that can deny that growth,
so that the wonder that first came forth
can make joyous leap after leap upward and outward.

by Henry Walker
January 7, ’11

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

the critic within

Judge With Care

I worry when the older are too judgmental with the younger,
when we notice an action, or a lack of action,
and we judge that obstinate will is the problem, and the solution,
and we’re sure of that judgment,
we judge that the other should get its act together
and just do what it knows to be right,
we judge that it surely knows how to do it right and just doesn’t,

what I fear is that the judge who externalizes to the other
does so because it internalizes
with judgment after judgment on one’s own self,
a self easily found lacking,

I challenge each of us to believe in ourselves
and thus in who the other works to be.

by Henry Walker
January 7, ’11