Normally, when I compose these blogs, I do the writing first. Then I’ll search for a suitable meme, generally in www.getstencil.com, which has millions of images searchable by topic. Every once in a while, though, I’ll use a photograph, either one of my own or one in the public domain. In my blog called “Don’t Think!,” for example, I used a photo from one of the websites of my spiritual association, Subud. Today I’m featuring a photo I took myself. Moreover, I’ve placed it first rather than last, since it is my point of departure. Let me explain....
This box arrived in mid-December, a mystery Christmas present from our housemate Phil’s sister. Since then, it has decorated our dining room table, as in this picture. So, I have been looking at it three times a day for the last six weeks. (I am writing these words on January 27th.) In the beginning it was just a wooden box filled with dirt, some greenish-yellow bits of plant matter decorating the top. Then, after a few weeks, two little green shoots pushed their way ever so slowly into the air. My wife told me at lunch one day that we were looking at the beginnings of amaryllis flowers. At first, the two shoots kept pace with each other, which struck me as very fitting. Then one day I noticed a change. All of a sudden, the stalk on my right just took off in a formation that would have delighted Dr. Freud. The other just crept along, losing altitude relative to its partner each day. Two amaryllises growing from the same box, yet behold the difference in today’s photo!
Shortly before I retired from higher education late in the last millennium—Doesn’t that sound historic?—the theme of teaching to individual differences became all the rage. There were myriad conferences and workshops on the topic. Since our students learned in different ways, we professors needed to up our game and find ways of catering to their learning-style differences. Otherwise, some would get our teaching while the rest would be left in the dark. (Speaking of which, I’d better go out and brush the snow off our car now, or else I’ll be doing that in the dark.) Today, though, I was fascinated to see such a stark individual difference in nature. So, with my French friends, I’ll close by simply saying, VIVE LA DIFFÉRENCE!