I think this is beautiful.
It’s a weed. In fact, I was standing on my very own lawn with some friends the other day when they pointed it out. A weed, smack dab in the middle of my very own lawn. How do you like that? I’m on the lawn daily, and somehow, it didn’t occur to me that there was one dandelion I didn’t pick, sticking up out if the middle of my otherwise impeccably green grass.
My wife and I are gardening/ landscaping enthusiasts, so we take a lot of pride in maintaining our lawn. But for some reason I didn’t notice this one. Maybe the reason is unfolding right now…a romantic notion, but conceivable nonetheless.
My friend looked at me and said, “you’re really slacking man!” He pointed to the weed and we all had a good chuckle. My first instinct was, “Destroy!” But with a closer look, I realized, “This is beautiful.” I’m glad I missed it, because it’s reminding me of an important lesson that I repeatedly learn, and sometimes forget. Beauty is truly all around us, everywhere and in everything. The rub, as you know, is that it comes to light in the eye of the beholder. As beholders, we have to stop, we have to look closely, we have to recognize the beauty everywhere and in everything in order to share the joy and wonder that it brings into our lives.
It seems strange that even overt and obvious beauty is sometimes so difficult to recognize and appreciate. As an educator, headed into a new school year, this dandelion’s message is extremely impactful to me. Those of you who are also educators can understand very well that in the middle of a stressful day or a challenging week, it’s difficult to look around and see the beauty that exists everywhere and in everything.
This dandelion could be a galaxy filled with brilliant stars or Dr. Seuss’s inspiration for Horton’s world with in a clover. It could be an underwater colony of phosphorescent plant life or a sacred Elf city woven masterfully into one of Tolkien’s fantasies. Moreover, putting aside what it could be, think about what it is. I don’t know the details of how a dandelion pollinates, but it seems to me that a strong gust of wind would send those little, beautiful, sparkly, feathery, fluffy, seedlings flying into the air, traveling along paths that would lead them toward the eventuality of catalyzing new life. Seems beautiful to me.
Ironically, just about a moment ago, it simply seemed like…well…frankly…it seemed like a weed. In any case, as a beholder of this dandelion, and someone who was seconds away from destroying it, I am now constructing an argument to illustrate that in fact, there is beauty in how it looks, and beauty in what it does. I simply needed to slow down, to take a closer look, appreciate, and enjoy. Moreover, I’m now suggesting that there’s beauty in the message it’s giving me just by existing…a triple threat! This dandelion, in all of its beauty and wonder, has reminded me of something very important. I need to work hard at seeing the beauty that surrounds me. It enhances my life, and I believe that it increases my capacity to function as the type of educator, and the type of leader, that I’m constantly working to be. Especially in the most challenging moments, I believe that zeroing in on beauty and wonder can enable educators to embrace potential, and inspire learners with authenticity.
Beauty does seem to be in the eye of the beholder, and I believe that beauty does exist everywhere and in everything. So, it’s up to the beholder to live in such a way that beauty becomes apparent to others. What happens when educators lead in ways that expose beauty to those they serve? What happens when educators lead in ways that that encourage students to appreciate the unique and amazing beauty within themselves? Take one more moment, look again, behold this weed, this nuisance, this lawn pest.
Do you see its beauty? Do you hear its message?
Dream Big…Follow Your Heart…Be Well.