JuliewithFlowers - Copy
I pride myself on answering questions. As a teacher I have the opportunity to answer many, and I try to do so with precision and completeness.

But some questions are different.

This one pierced through the normal routine of question posed, answer given. Or it should have.

With its innocence and purity—and attendant insight and wonder—this question from my young daughter brought me up short.

What an astoundingly good question. Why are there flowers, anyway? I shudder now to think how such a question can be easily cauterized, sanitized, and bound up neatly. How often do we in the position of teacher find ourselves explaining away, rather than explaining. Or rather than simply entering into the wonder—the wonder stemming from having chipped off a little piece of something very big and found it shimmering with an unseen significance—we parry the thrust: effectively making the questioner think he’s asked a question easily handled. We snuff out the wonder. And why? Because we don’t have time; or worse, we lack the child-like humility to enter into the wonder. Wonder can be scary, and uncomfortable.

“Because that’s how plants reproduce.”

Good God, what an answer I gave. As though there could not have been a thousand other ways for plants to reproduce. But they in fact put out flowers!

Yes, Juliana, why. Why? Please ask me again. I promise: I’ll see it through your eyes. At least I’ll try to.

For somewhere in the real answer to your question—the answer you must have sensed, the answer you deserve—is a truth beyond my telling. A truth that will endure for you and for me, even after all the flowers are gone.

Photo: Juliana

YOU MAY ALSO LIKE:

Why We Must Start Planting, Again

“Of the art of acquisition [of food] then there is one kind which by nature is a part of the management of a household, in so far as the art of household management must either find ready to hand, or itself provide, such things necessary to life…” Aristotle, Politics...

read more

In Praise of Hand Work

“The hand is a tool of tools.” Aristotle, On the Soul Recently I was watching a blacksmith work. I was mesmerized. There is something so satisfying and so fitting—indeed, so human—about the ability to do that kind of work. What most struck me is how glad he must be to...

read more

Giving More Praise

“Some men are thought to be obsequious, namely, those who to give pleasure praise everything and never oppose.” “And while for its own sake he [the man virtuous in social interaction] chooses to contribute pleasure, and avoids the giving of pain, he will be guided...

read more

Pin It on Pinterest