Thursday, May 7, 2009

Flower Teaching

Photo courtesy of p!o

This week, we are reading the Parents' Review article,
Flower Teaching by Dorothea Beale. This article is a re-print of a collection of poems about Daisies, originally printed in the Cheltenham Ladies' College Magazine along with some introductory comments about the importance of encouraging a love of flowers in our children. I must admit that a lot of the article was a stretch for me to understand. However, I did take away a few nuggets.

According to Mrs. Beale, it is important that a "love of flowers should be fostered in all" because:
  1. It develops a love of the beautiful
  2. It fine-tunes observation skills
  3. It develops the sense of order as the child observes the patterns of leaves and petals and learns to classify flowers
The author tells of a favourite activity of the Division III students. ( I am wondering what age this is, since the age groups are generally referred to by 'Class'. Do any readers know to what age 'Division III' refers? Of course, it doesn't matter a whole lot to homeschoolers.) Each child contributes a large page about his/her chosen flower. The article doesn't say whether the plant is pressed or painted, but the parts are all labelled. The child also chooses a poem about the flower and copies it onto the page. The sheets are then bound together so that the class has a lovely book to look at, to which each child has contributed. In the family setting, of course, unless you have a gigantic number of children, it would probably be nicer to have each child contribute several flower pages over the course of a couple of months. Otherwise, even for large families, the book would be pretty sparse! I think we will make this our spring/summer/early fall project. I like this idea because I think it is important to have some things that we do together as a family, co-operatively.

I would love to hear your thoughts about the spiritual aspects of the article.
I wanted so badly to really grab hold of the similarities between flowers and our connection to our Lord, but I couldn't wrap my head around the ideas except for a very small preliminary understanding. I did really enjoy the story of the father and son, where the father shows the son that if he breaks the seed, there is nothing inside. Yet, that seed contains the entire essence of the Nyagrodha tree. Given the right growing conditions the seed will become just what it was destined to be.

Taking this further, there are so many factors that affect the way the tree turns out, the quality of the soil, the place where it was planted, the availability of water, and, of course, the nourishing and life-giving presence of the sun. All of these can determine life or death for the tree. Within that life, these factors will determine the strength of the tree to stand up to storms, to live a long life and to be fruitful. Nothing can change the tree from a Nyagrodha into another tree. That was determined by our Lord. How great a Nyagrodha tree it becomes, however, is affected by many things.

I love the parallels of this story to the lives of our little plants, our children.
They are going to be the people God created them to be. They come with a destiny, a nature and a special purpose. We cannot change them into someone else anymore than we can change the seed of the Nyagrodha tree into a grape vine. This isn't our job, though. Our job is to help our little plants become strong so that they will be able to stand up to storms, to live a long life and to be fruitful. And, best of all, when they are strong, trees point straight to our wonderful, generous and loving Lord. :)

What did you take away from the article? Do you have very many flowers out where you live, yet?

1 comment:

  1. I haven't read the article, but wanted to say that your post and summary nearly brought me to tears. Such a lovely, lovely, challenging parallel to parenting. LOVED. IT.