It was Saturday morning and springtime. The weather was warm, but not too hot. It was the perfect day to go to my local nursery. A nursery is a place where plants are propagated and grown to usable size so as to be offered for sale. And on this May morning the plants were selling briskly.
I was standing near the entrance and watched as people brought their selected plants for purchase. That’s where my friends Rick Graham and Rosemary Gray came over to say hello and catch up. They live near me and yet, we still don’t spend much time just to talk. Since both Rick and Rosemary are retired, one would think it would be easy for us to socialize more, but they’ve created a new definition of what it means to be retired.
“Rosemary was just accepted to medical school,” Rick said casually, as if I had ever known a university professor to retire and then within a couple of years apply for and begin to attend medical school.
I looked at Rick and Rosemary in awe. Then, I looked around at the plants in the surrounding nursery. The combination was unique and inspiring.
“When Rosemary retired, she really missed her students,” Rick said.
I thought, Now Rosemary has the opportunity to be a student and a teacher at the same time.
Isn’t that the case for all of us? Aren’t we all students at one moment and teachers the next? Could this pattern be called the Nursery School Principle?”
The Nursery School Principle, as lived by Rick and Rosemary, allows us to recognize that we are permanent students and teachers in life. We grow as we learn from other people and circumstances. Then, we become teachers and use our unique talents and knowledge to benefit others. It’s a cycle and process that can continue indefinitely — if we allow it to.
Some think of the word nursery as only part of youth’s cycle, or as a place where young people, or tender plants, are nurtured. That is true. But it’s also true that Rick and Rosemary have discovered, as master gardeners, that a nursery can be more than just a place. It is the embodiment of life’s learning and teaching course.
Yes, it was the perfect day to go to my local plant nursery and learn about the Nursery School Principle. People like you and me can be students and teachers throughout our entire life!
Lynn Butterfield lives in Erda and is a managing broker for a real estate company.