Yesterday our superintendent shared a video (below) and brief message with us about the way in which the Chinese bamboo tree grows. If you are unfamiliar with the plant like I was, you may be interested to know that the process of growing a Chinese bamboo tree takes five years. It requires daily watering and fertilization and only then, in its fifth year of growing, will it emerge from the ground. Then, within five weeks of it sprouting, it grows 90 feet.

So, the question becomes: “Does it take 5 years or 5 weeks for the plant to grow?”

The underlying meaning of this story can be applied in many ways. However, through the eyes of an educator, it really affords you the opportunity to take a step back and consider the speed with which we want things to “work.” How many times have you started something (call it an initiative if you’d like) and only months later ditched it claiming it didn’t work? I certainly know we are guilty of that sometimes.

Using this video and idea as a guide, maybe it’s time that we slow our role. Maybe it’s time that we give the plant a chance to sprout before we stop watering it and assume it wasn’t going to make it. Because who knows – maybe the next student, class, or thing that we invest daily attention to might take 5 years to sprout, but will grow 90 feet 5 weeks later and forever change their lives.

We live in an instant gratification society (Amazon Now, for instance). We keep instilling the concept that faster is better and are turning a blind eye to the fact that our chosen methodologies may take more than a couple months to prove themselves. It’s an exercise in patience and in our ability to think critically about what is actually growing despite our perceptions.

What do you think? Does the Chinese bamboo tree take five years or five weeks to grow?

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