Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Planted Passion

Thanks to a freakishly warm January and a friend who graciously shared her bounty of fall-planting bulbs at Christmas time, I found myself outside at sunset last night with a couple of my favorite people on earth, all of us feverishly getting those tulips and paperwhites into the ground.

Watching my son wield the shovel reminded me of a conversation I recently had with a student about how one of the neat things about being an adult is looking back on childhood and realizing how the seeds for what we love to do (or wish we were doing) now were so often planted during those tender years. I can remember clearly, for example, how much I loved to write and illustrate stories, poems, radio scripts and anything else that could be brought to life on the page. I could sit for hours writing, drawing and losing all track of the time-space continuum as I composed my masterworks. Here's a sampling that found publication in Ms. Rowe's Book of Second Grade Poetry at Sleepy Hollow School:
I used to squish my squash.
Now I squash my squash.
I know, right? The genius made itself known early.
Now that I have a tween and an almost-tween of my own, I tell my kids to nurture the seeds of things that bring them joy - things that, when they're doing them, make everything else disappear, time, space and worldly problems included. Not that those problems will go away, and not that we won't regularly have to do things we don't want to do (root canals and bill paying, anyone?). But I firmly believe that letting the seeds of dreams and calling and vocation dry up and die before they have a chance to take root can make it exponentially harder to face the sometimes harsh realities of life. It's why my kids no doubt get sick of me telling them, "Don't lose your passion - and if you do, work like heck to get it back again!"

What do you think about this? Were the seeds of what you love to do as an adult planted in childhood? Have you ever lost your dreams and subsequently had to track them down, grab them by the scruff of their necks and haul them home?

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