Fertilizer, Floss & Feelings

Today I'm hoping that you're curious about how the three things in the title connect. First, the fertilizer. It was late the other night, past dusk but not yet dark, when John saw rain on the radar and decided to spread fertilizer out front, to help the yard stay resilient during the Texas summertime sizzle. The timing was perfect; he got the chemicals spread just before the heavens opened up. But a setting was off. Just look at our lawn, one week later. It's all splotchy. Like polka-dotted. It's an odd look, really, especially if you don't know the story. 
The lush dark grass was hit; the thin light spots were missed. 

Interesting, you might say, but what does that have to do with floss? Well, I went to the dentist yesterday, for my six-month check up and cleaning. As I prepared for the visit, I realized that I have not done a very good job of flossing this spring. Usually quite diligent about the care for my pearly whites, I decided to be transparent when Carol, my hygienist, inquired as to my recent dental-care habits. I told her that I was rocking the brushing part but delinquent in the flossing area. And get this; I didn't get any points for my honesty. In fact, she fussed at me. She told me that brushing without flossing is like showing up for class without having done the homework. She added that, in fact, the flossing is way more important than the brushing because you can miss a lot of spots by just brushing. She wondered why a teacher like me would bother coming to class without her homework, so she put not one, but two packs of floss in my goodie bag. 
She says it's only twenty days worth. And it can't be hit or miss.

By now you might be able to predict what the fertilizer and the floss have to do with one another. First, let me bounce forward to the feelings part of the post. 

After the dentist, I went to see the movie Inside Out

Click the graphic for Heather's 20 Counseling Themes post!
{Spoiler alert} It's the moving story of an eleven-year-old girl as told by her feelings: Joy, Sadness, Disgust, Anger, and Fear. As Riley navigates her new normal after relocating to San Francisco from the Midwest, Joy works very hard to create a happy experience for her by keeping the other feelings at bay. But when Riley's feelings get all mixed up and she starts to lose sight of who she is, it ends up being the mix with Sadness leading the way to help Riley be resilient and propel her through the hard to arrive at the happy. 

Here now, some outcome inquiries to help connect the spots dots:

What might happen in our classrooms, homes, communities, world if we don't fertilize evenly? How do those who get the fertilizer benefit? How might those who don't get the fertilizer suffer? How often should we fertilize? What is the end goal of fertilizing? And how might we need to adjust when there's no rain on the radar? 

How does this compare and contrast to my flossing fiasco? 

Do you agree that completing follow-up assignments is more important to our learning than simply showing up to class? Why or why not? What happens when we show up unprepared, without having done our homework? How do we ascertain that these two things work in concert to maximize the benefits of both?

Finally, these Inside Out reflections:

Are feelings ever mutually exclusive or do they work best in unity? How do we (and our stakeholders) benefit when we accept, embrace, and willingly feel all of our feelings, easy and hard, comfortable and uncomfortable, weak and strong? What might it be like if we didn't? Might we end up out-of-sorts, a little like the lawn? Or worse, risk a disease, like gingivitis? Would the same be true if we try to protect our children or students from experiencing certain, perhaps less-desirable feelings? How will they learn to be resilient if we don't let them experience adversity and push through the feelings that follow?
Inside Out is a creative masterpiece that I will undoubtedly go see again 
and one I enthusiastically recommend. I also recommend 
fertilizing carefully, flossing routinely, and feeling deeply 
as you unwrap today, the gift that is our present.

1 comment

I really enjoy hearing from my readers; thanks for sharing your reflections with us!