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In the Scheme of Things


Nan Russell

Jun 3, 2015

Planting Seeds of Possibility

Planting Seeds of Possibility

As the school year ends, I'm reminded of the teachers, in various roles, who positively impacted my life far beyond our encounters. These thoughts are for them, and people like them, who touch our lives and never know the lasting impact they have. Often, we don't even know ourselves until years later.

For example, I don't know if my eighth grade social studies teacher is the person who helped me become a writer, but I do know his encouraging words planted possibility seeds that enabled me to harbor the thought that I could. While Mr. Jones intimidated me at the time, I worked harder in his class than any. At some point, I started to love it; not because of the topic, but because of how he made me feel -- smart, curious, and eager to learn. My intimidation quietly morphed into feelings of inspiration by the end of the year.

I had a similar experience as a young professional after accepting a position with a woman known for her direct style and unyielding standards. She knew what she stood for and accepted no less from those working for her. Mrs. Betachini pushed and challenged me. In doing so, I dug deeper to find and offer my best. I learned more about myself working for her than any boss before or since.

When someone believes in you, it changes you. When someone sees in you what you don't see in yourself and then offers a mirror for you to glimpse that reflection, it creates an opening for your gifts to emerge and grow. These "teachers" help us awaken our dreams, increase our determination, and discover doors to unconsidered possibilities. That's what great parents, relatives, friends, bosses, and teachers do. They plant possibility seeds and then they help those seeds take root.

But these mentors and teachers don't plant possibility seeds because it's their job; they plant them because they see beyond the surface to what people can do. They create environments where it's okay to make mistakes, try new things, experiment, and gain experience. They help us show up, in the deepest sense, and cheer us on when we do. They know helping others live their life's potential creates a better world for all of us.

Thank you Mr. Jones and Mrs. Betachini, and others like you who touched my life. I may not remember much about eighth grade social studies or that early job, but I will always remember how your words and actions nurtured my self-esteem and unveiled my talents.

There are people who stomp out seeds of possibility and people who plant them. Thank you to all the planters out there who make us and our lives better. And a special thank you to the teachers, mentors, family, friends, and colleagues who discover, plant, nurture, encourage, and water seeds of possibility in us. In the scheme of things, you may never know the harvest your seeds yield, or the impact that you have had on our lives. But, we do.

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