I recently clicked on a link someone posted on Facebook that shared Captain Beefheart's espoused "10 Commandments of Guitar-Playing." Low on the list I read this statement,
"Even a lima bean has to have a piece of wet paper around it to make it grow."
It has "bean" with me everyday since! (Sorry, I couldn't resist the pun!)
I guess, first of all, it reminded me of the 40+ Ziploc bags taped to a classroom window each Spring. Each day of the experiment I was privileged to watch the excited faces of five- and six-year-old children as they bounded into the classroom to see if their bean had sprouted.
Of course we always had the “control” beans that were kept in the dark. I remember one student who was in tears because she felt sorry for the beans in the dark that didn’t get to sprout like hers. She was so distraught that we eventually had to let them out into the light!
Aside from this memory, which serves to remind me how much I miss teaching, I’ve also been considering this statement as a metaphor for my experience as a doctoral student in which I’m the bean. Fortunately, I’m not in the control group lying in the dark (although it feels like it at times). I’ve been wrapped up in the wet paper towel of study. It’s often sticky and it causes my outer shell of confidence and purpose to crack and peel. Yet, at times, I feel a sprout of success pop up. I can feel the warmth of the sunlight coming through the window and I catch a glimpse of the vine that will someday be mine. Until that day, I will be thankful for the wet paper towel and baggie that serve to germinate my growth.