Blog: A Lesson from the Sequoia about Helping your Child Succeed
by Leslie Shein
Elementary Assistant Principal
This past summer while doing some research for one of my classes, I happened to run across an article about sequoia trees. Although I don’t usually go out of my way to read and study up on trees, this was so interesting I had to find out more!
Did you know that sequoias are some of the largest and oldest trees in the world? In fact, the “giant sequoia” is one of the largest living things on Earth. Even more amazing is that this tree can grow and survive in just three feet of soil! However, because of its shallow root system, this huge tree can be susceptible to inclement weather and storms—and can relatively easily topple over.
So how have these trees survived to become one of the oldest living trees? This is where it gets really remarkable.
Sequoia trees are strong and can survive in shallow ground because they don’t exist completely on their own. Their root system creates a strong foundation as they spread out in all directions, intertwining with the roots of other sequoia trees around them. As these roots continue to join and fuse together, they don’t compete for resources, but rather share them.
I can’t help but see the correlation between our children’s education and the sequoia tree.
As a mother, an educator, an administrator, and a church member, I often see that so many different people impact a child’s education. Each of these individuals draws from a different background and brings a different perspective. For this very reason, a school cannot educate a child on its own. The most effective education is a result of collaboration between school leadership, teachers, the family, the community, and the church.
I know parents want their children to succeed in school. I also know that one of our teachers’ foremost goals is to see their students excel. This is why I am excited to see Highlands continually striving to develop relationships with both our students and our families in order to support these shared goals.
It is my personal desire for you as parents to know you are valued.
Your input matters. It matters to us as educators, and it matters to your children, whether they choose to admit it or not! Parents, we want you to feel welcomed, included, and respected in the education process.
Using the sequoia as an example for us, we must not view ourselves as isolated…on an island by ourselves. Instead, we must become intertwined with each other, and while doing this, we must be certain to not battle one another or deplete each other’s resources. Instead we must encourage each other to become stronger, support each other’s growth, and ensure the strength and success of each one of our children. When doing this together as a team, we’ll be helping our students to remain strong during the forcible winds and the inclement weather that come during this life.
In addition to the strong root system of sequoia trees, they can grow to heights of 300 feet and are believed to be as much as 3,000 years old. These trees simply do not give up. In fact, they actually prosper under extreme environments. The sequoia thrives when dealing with brush fire and is somewhat fire resistant. From the ash, the tree becomes more nourished and produces greater amounts of cones which carry seeds to produce more trees.
What lesson can we take away from these facts?
I believe that we can thrive under difficult situations and even failure. As educators, we may not always get it right. As a parent, I guarantee that I will make mistakes. Cars break down, events come up, and technology fails us! What we do with these apparent failures is what truly matters. From the ashes of a failed attempt can grow the opportunity to implement something new based on what we’ve learned. This means that as educators and parents, we never stop growing, learning, and trying. What will happen? We will produce something greater. What do we produce as educators? We produce the future.
My study on the sequoia tree brings to mind a powerful Scripture! Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! (Ecclesiastes 4:9).
Mrs. Leslie Shein, HCA blogger of the week, loves the students and families of Highlands! As an HCA grad herself, then a teacher, and now an administrator, Leslie relates to families on multiple levels. She is pictured here with her husband Blair (HCA alum also) and her two children, both who come to HCA Elementary with her each day. More than anything, Leslie loves the Lord—and would love to talk to you about why we’re here at Highlands educating, caring, and nurturing students in their walk with Christ.