Things I wish my Younger Self Knew- Lesson 4
Reflecting on life, I realize that certain people came into my life just at the most reasonable times to guide me in that stage. Mentors and marigolds exist all around us.
Embarking on my teaching career
It was a warm summer day when I pulled up to the quaint little school that would be the home of my first teaching position due to begin that fall.
Intense nerves traveled through my body as I walked to the front office. I noticed a beautiful bed of flowers just at the entrance of the school. As I stopped to admire them, I spied a woman bent over and tending to the flowers with care as if they were the little children of the school arriving for the day. She looked up and caught my gaze. With a gentle wave, she smiled at me as I continued my walk into the school.
More than a Principal
When I entered the office, I asked for the principal. The secretary informed me that she was outside gardening. Amazingly, I realized my new boss was the sweet-looking woman I had just passed. My body began to relax as I instantly felt like I was home. She was more than just a principal but a human who cared.
Something about that encounter made me feel so calm and comforted. I soon discovered that her care for the garden transcended into that school building and community. There was an overwhelming feeling of love throughout the school.
It did not stop on that day. When we finally began to work together, she had a way of making me feel so special. She took me under her wing and guided me through those first years of my teaching career. I was so thankful that she believed in my abilities as an educator and always encouraged me to improve my craft. Due to her belief in me, she became my mentor and friend.
Find Your Marigold
The bright-colored marigold is a great companion for many plants. They are flowers that can help other plants to thrive and grow. Just like the flower, we can find marigolds in our lives. People who encourage us, build us up, and help us to thrive. For a new teacher, a marigold is a veteran teacher who will support you and create a positive impact in your life. They are the ones who will listen to you and encourage you. They cultivate a light that illuminates your path. Not only will they guide you professionally, but they help you to grow your character. Their support picks you up on your most challenging days and carries you through the disappointments and failures. Their energy is infectious and can shift your mindset.
My first principal was my marigold. The support she gave her teachers was done just as carefully as when she tended to the flowers in the school garden. Her everyday wisdom guided my days. She encouraged me when I felt lost and defeated. When I was stressed and overwhelmed, she listened to me. She believed in me. My abilities and strengths as an educator grew in those years under her mentorship.
When I was younger, I used to think that to be successful, I needed to learn to do it all on my own. But as I have grown with experience and wisdom, I know that perception is incorrect. We need others. There are mentors out there who can guide us. We need people who are a step ahead to be our role models and support system.
We need marigolds.
So, to my younger self, I share this wisdom:
Dear Younger Self,
You don’t have to do it all alone. Find your marigold!
When you are embarking on something new, find those who will support you—those who will provide a positive light that will shine onto your path.
Lean on them on difficult days and cheer with them on your best days.
Allow them to teach you along the way, as they are steps ahead of you and have wisdom you can learn from.
Listen to their experiences and see what you can take from them.
Do not be afraid to leave your comfort zone and use their experiences as a guide.
Allow yourself to thrive under their leadership.
There is so much wisdom you can gain.