Friday, June 10, 2011

The Garden is for Reflection

by Jan Shoop
If you’ve been following the stories on our blog, then you probably know that StarShine has a garden. It is a magnificent place. Most of the year the garden is filled with flowers, vegetables and students.

The idea behind having a garden, in a school, is to teach students how to care for the world and the environment. The garden also teaches students about different plants, vegetables and flowers. The students, along with the teachers, maintain the garden and learn not only how to grow flowers and vegetables, but also how to harvest the vegetables. They learn what to do with all the vegetables once they’re harvested and how to prepare, cooked and enjoy eating the vegetables.

Anyway, one day I was touring some rather distinguished visitors around the school. We had visited several of the classrooms and were walking down the sidewalk when Christian came walking up to introduce himself. Christian had been a student at StarShine for a number of years and was a perfect example of the progress the students made. When Christian first came to the school, he was extremely angry and struggled in just about every way possible. If you read last Friday’s story you’ll understand when I say,  “Sometimes students enroll and you wonder if they are going to be successful.”   

Christian spent a lot of his free time working and helping in the garden, so I thought he would be a perfect student to talk to the visitors about the importance of having a school garden.

What he told the visitors caught me completely off guard. Christian didn’t discuss how much he enjoyed the garden or why the school had a garden. He didn’t talk about the carrots and turnips growing in the garden or the beautiful sunflowers and hollyhocks. Christian said, “The reason we have a garden is so that there is a place for students to go when we get in trouble and need a place to think and calm down.” I just stood there with my mouth open. I was amazed at his wisdom and astuteness. In addition -- the visitors were very impressed.

Needlessly to say, whenever visitors came to the school and visited the garden Christian led the tour. And from that day on -- the garden became known throughout the school as a place of reflection.

If you enjoyed this inspirational story about the garden then you should read, Watermelons in the Garden