Nourishing Blooms

I was brave this year and bought some real plants for my office. One of those plants is a Peace Lily. My friend, Lucrecer, is a plant champion who graciously gave me guidance on how to keep this Peace Lily happy.

She jokingly told me that Peace Lily’s are dramatic and sassy.

Amidst the many tips she shared, she told me that if my Peace Lily bloomed, I could cut those blooms if I wanted her to push her energy out into making more leaves instead. Otherwise, energy would go to her blooms.

This was helpful information about the Peace Lily. And yet, it got me thinking about blooming in our schools.

What does blooming look like among staff members? Often, it looks like that place where nurtured talent and energy collide. It looks like people being excited about and confident in their work. It looks like doing things that aren’t required of us but things we want to do anyway. Things that light us up. Things that light kids up. Things that make other people feel seen, special, and connected. Blooming looks like bringing light in the darkness. Hope to those feeling hopeless.

We are at a crossroads. We are tired. We are weary. And it’s only September. We can choose to conserve our energy and use it for basic operations. Business as semi-usual. We can cut our blooms and stay focused on the basics. Keep our leaves green and growing. And school will look much the same.

Or we can nourish the blooms. The individuals and teams that go out of their way to create magical, meaningful, and engaging experiences for kids. We can pour energy into our super bloomers, growing their learning and celebrating their unique contributions to our schools and communities. We can visit their classrooms, write them little notes, bring them coffee on plan bells while we listen to their big ideas and dreams. We can write grant applications, read books and articles alongside them, and encourage them to take risks.

If we nourish the blooms, perhaps in their blooming, they will create a super bounce of healthy energy that will encourage others vibrate from their highest selves as well.

For me, it’s about the bloomers right now. They make this world a more beautiful place and give me hope for the future. And if we cut off the bloomers, the people who make this work look fun and impactful, how will we inspire future generations to be a part of this incredible profession?

Cutting off bloomers may look like staying out of their classrooms. You know the ole’ saying, “Hire good people and get out of their way.” But sometimes staying out of classrooms, out of proximity, out of conversations, sends the message that we don’t care about bloomers’ work or care about their growth and development. Sometimes.

Cutting off the bloomers may look like discouraging something creative and spectacular they want to do because we can’t “scale” it across our system or because it will make other people feel “bad” about their green leaves.

Cutting off the bloomers may look like devoting most of our energy, time, and resources on those who aren’t performing at satisfactory level.

Cutting off the bloomers can be unconscious. It may lack tangible action. It can lack any true ill-will.

And yet, it’s a lack of nourishment.

As teachers and leaders, we are environment cultivators. We are responsible for setting the conditions that support growth and blooming.

Yes, let’s take care of our daily business. Let’s make sure our leaves are healthy. But in doing so, let’s not cut off the blooms. The bloomers who shine bright and make school and this profession look fun and worthwhile.

Who is a super bloomer in your ecosystem? How might you give them the energy they need to keep growing bigger and brighter than they ever thought possible? Who is someone who makes you feel like you can bloom into your biggest and most beautiful self? Have you told them? How might you get more time with them?

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